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February 21, 2018 - WTVA

APR Member Highlight: Denton Plastics

New Policy Change Threatens to Send Oregon Recycling to Landfills

Oregon, a state with a reputation for recycling, is facing a serious challenge when it comes to recycled plastic, with the threat of some materials being sent to a landfill.

Several months ago, China announced it would no longer accept post-consumer plastics, a policy change that went into effect in January.

The change leaves local recyclers, who previously baled up the mixed materials collected in the state's recycle bins and shipped it overseas, in the lurch.

Oregon currently doesn't have a facility designed to separate plastics from the other materials collected.

"Nobody was willing to build a plastics sorting facility on the west coast as long as China was buying that material because China could beat us out on prices. They have much cheaper labor prices," Peter Spendelow, a natural resource specialist with the Department of Environmental Quality said.

There are facilities that take plastics, like Denton Plastics in Northeast Portland, but the material Denton receives comes from commercial and industrial sources, like grocery chains and nurseries.

"Those materials come into us separated. So it's a big difference than what's being put into the curb," Nicole Janssen, President of Denton Plastics said.

Janssen is a member of the Association of Plastics Recyclers, an organization that saw the problem coming, and has been working for the last two years on a solution.

"The future of plastic recycling is to keep it domestic. You want to have this regional recycling plan of 'let's not ship materials overseas and make it somebody else's problem,'" Janssen said.

 

Read the full article from WTVA here.

Learn more about Denton Plastics on their website.