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Recycling Smart for St. Louis

July 9, 2018

Recycle Smart! 

You may have heard of changes in the recycling industry that could potentially have an effect on our curbside recycling. China, the world’s leading importer of recyclables, recently announced that they will no longer accept recyclable materials that have high contamination levels. In the past, China would accept an enormous amount of recyclable materials from the U.S. but unfortunately, only about 60% of that could be recycled due to contamination. Contamination can happen when certain items are incorrectly put in the recycling bin like plastic bags or food waste. That means about 40% of our contaminated recyclables were tossed into China’s landfill. So in an effort to curb their waste collection, China has now banned the import of nearly all recyclables. This means, for us, we need to continue to minimize our waste and recycle correctly.

So how can we make a difference? Keep recycling but RECYCLE SMART! 

       Make sure to put the correct items in your recycling bin. If you’re not sure if it’s recyclable, research options or throw it away. When in doubt, throw it out.

       Empty or wipe off any liquid or food waste. 

       Here’s a great blog from St. Louis Earth Day that talks about recycling and the simple changes we can make at home --> Updates to Your Blue Bin

Here are a few common items to keep OUT of your blue bin:

       Styrofoam – see if you can recycle this at your local recycling center

       Plastic Bags – recycle these at participating grocery stores

       Contaminated Paper – keep it dry and free of food particles (minimal particles are OK)

       Paper cups – unfortunately these have a glue lining that can’t be recycled

If you live in St. Louis County and have questions about recycling, check out the Recycling and Waste Management Department

And if you live in the city – check out STL City Recycles