2019 Recycling Program Changes

Some items are no longer accepted in our recycling program
3 things to keep out of your recycling cart
Recycling in the United States has changed dramatically over the past two years. In response, we must update our list of accepted items so the material we collect has the best chance of being made into new products. The items below are no longer accepted in our recycling program.
1. Shredded Paper
Modern shredders cut paper into such small pieces that there isn't enough fiber left to recover. Loose shreds become confetti at sorting facilities and end up swept into the garbage.

Shred events are a great alternative to shredding at home.
2. Refrigerated Cartons
The moisture in cartons contaminates the rest of the paper. They are are also made of layers of paper and plastic that makes them difficult to recycle into new products.
3. Plant Pots
Plant pots are usually dirty. There is so much variety in material and style that it's difficult to know what is recyclable and what isn't.
Now that most of our recyclables are no longer sent to overseas recyclers, we are faced with the increased costs associated with processing and shipping material to re-manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada. These changes to the recycling program will clean up our recycling stream and give the remaining material the best chance at a new life.

The good news is, as long as it is on our list of approved recyclables, the material collected in Pierce County is sent to re-manufacturers to be recycled. Only contamination and non-program materials end up in our landfill.
Recycling tips
Follow these tips to keep contamination out of your cart:
Recycle the
right things
Garbage isn't recyclable!
Please put only the items listed on our reminder sheet in your recycling cart.

Request a reminder magnet
Don't
wishcycle
It's tempting to put things in your cart because you think they should be recycled, but your good intentions cause contamination that affects the whole system.

Search a detailed list
Look for opportunities to reduce waste
Recycling is great, but waste reduction is the goal. Use refillable bottles instead of buying cases of water. Try a small jar of concentrated paste instead of cartons of stock or broth.

Waste reduction tips.
Learn more
Listen to a podcast
The 99% Invisible podcast did an episode that explains Operation National Sword—China's ban on the import of recyclables. Listen to the podcast and read the article at 99pi's website.

Visit a recycling open house
Drop in anytime to learn what’s no longer accepted and why. Find out what happens to recyclables after they get picked up at your home. You can ask questions, play a game and even make an upcycled item to take home.

Resources