Do Just One Thing: Learn About Changes in Plastics Recycling at Far West Recycling (Sept 2017)

By Holly Hummel, RA Treasurer

As you may have heard, Far West Recycling (FWR) put up a notice that they will no longer accept most plastics, except for #1 and #2 plastic bottles. Here’s some background on why FWR and other recyclers are being forced to make these changes.

Far WestIn the past, the plastics collected have been bundled up and shipped to China where small mom and pop companies have sorted through them and reclaimed what is recyclable and throw the rest “ away” in their gargantuan trash heaps.

The Chinese are outraged over noxious air and befouled waterways. The Chinese government claims that the pollution is from the importation of plastic scrap and from plastic emissions. The Chinese government has responded with its GREEN FENCE initiative. Pursuant to the Green Fence, 247 plastics importers have lost their licenses. Without the Chinese market for our “recycled” plastics, Far West Recycling no longer takes any plastics except #1 and #2 bottles.

We are not sure what impact this will have on the blue roll carts for curbside recycling, but will provide an update if we hear something definitive.

According to a new study published in July by the Journal of Science Advances. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics that have been produced, 6.3 million metric tons has become plastics waste. The vast majority – 79 percent – is accumulating in landfills of sloughing off in the natural environment as litter.

8 million pounds of plastics are finding their way into oceans each year. 90% of seabirds have plastics in their stomachs and the seabird populations have plummeted 67% between 1950 and 2010. The Journal Science Advances estimates that by the year 2050, there will be more plastics in oceans than fish.

So, what to do?

  • Purchase items in bulk without plastic packaging.
  • Bring your own leftover container when you go out to eat.
  • Avoid single use items such as “paper” plates, plastic utensils and take out containers.
  • Choose to use less.
  • Choose paper.
  • Bring Your Own Cup.
  • Make your own salad dressing.
    • Next week, I am learning how to make my own mayonnaise. After that I will learn how to make yogurt. Change for me begins at home.

Thanks for allowing me to rant. If you have ideas to contribute on this or other RA topics, please get involved and spread the word. We want and need to hear from you. We’d love for you to get involved in our Bring Your Own Cup campaign. Our planet is small and needs our good stewardship!