San Juan Transfer Station to recycle mixed paper starting Friday, Nov. 3.
On Oct. 19, San Juan Transfer Station Recycling staff announced that it would no longer accept co-mingled or mixed materials because of China’s ban on importing of certain solid wastes and scrap into their country, including mixed paper and mixed plastics, starting Jan. 1.
Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Lautenbach Industries of Mt. Vernon, which operates the San Juan Island garbage facility on Sutton Road, has found an outlet for mixed paper that has been inspected and approved to continue exporting.
According to the transfer station’s Facebook, “Keeping this material clean and free of contaminants is very important so please take careful note of what mixed paper means in terms of recycling.” We can accept:
• Waxed boxes (cereal, soda, crackers, etc) no food or plastic liners
• Office paper
The transfer station will continue to accept recycling at the same cost of $3 per 30 gallon can. Islanders will have to separate the items out into their correct recycling categories rather than have them co-mingled.
According to the nonprofit, Solid Waste Association of North America, China is the largest export market for recyclables generated in the United States. They import about 13 million tons of paper and 776,000 tons of plastic from the United States annually.
The association tried to argue that U.S. recycling facilities would not be able to cope with this change by 2018. In September, China announced they would move forward with the waste import ban. China said much of the refuse sent to them was contaminated, often with items as unpleasant as used diapers.
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For updates, visit the Facebook page San Juan Transfer Station.