In California, exporting recyclable materials has been a key component of our recycling infrastructure – about a third of collected recyclable material is exported to international markets. Historically, the majority of that (mixed paper and plastics) material have been sent to China for processing and manufacturing into new products. January 1, 2018, China “National Sword” policy took effect, which bans the import of multiple types of recycled plastics and mixed-paper. Additionally, China enacted stricter standards on contamination, which limits contamination to 0.5% on all imports. These policy changes have led to a decline in available international recycling markets, thus forcing California’s solid waste and recycling facilities to stockpile these recyclable materials.
As recycling evolves due to changes in markets and additions of new packaging materials. Extra attention is needed to reduce our waste overall and make sure that we’re putting the correct materials in the recycling and green bins. Recycling works best when materials are empty, clean and dry. Only place materials that you know are clean and recyclable in the recycling cart. Your continued help with proper sorting can make a difference!
The best way to avoid recycling missteps is to reduce your waste, follow the reduce, reduce, then recycle. Purchasing products with zero-waste, limited or packaged in highly recyclable material is a great way to reduce your waste and recycle smart. Putting the unrecyclable or dirty material into the recycling bin can contaminate and ruin the entire batch. See the information below on materials that can be recycled by Republic Services. If you are still unsure about an item, please contact Republic Services Customer Service Line at (925) 685-4711.
Eco-Facts: Unlike most materials that lose their quality over time, glass can be recycled infinitely with no loss in purity. Glass bottles represent the quickest recycled-processing, as a bottle can be recycled and back on the store shelves within 30 days. In California, manufacturers of new glass containers must use at least 35 percent postconsumer recycled glass. Further, containers made from recycled glass generate less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Per each ton of recycled glass produced, there is 0.2 percent fewer GHG emissions over the life of a bottle compared to glass made from virgin materials.
Recycling Rules: For best results, all recycled glass should be empty, clean, and dry to avoid contamination. Broken glass should be placed in your garbage cart to help protect workers and avoid contaminating the recycling stream.
Reuse Tips: Repurpose glass bottle and jars as drinking glasses – with a little work you can make you own cups out of bottles. Also consider using jars to store dry pantry good, leftover foods and drinks, salad dressings, snacks in your lunch, and other storage of other small objects.
Glass That Should NOT Be Placed in Cart: drinking or wine glasses, plates, ceramics, Pyrex or other heat resistant glass, light bulbs, computer monitors, phone screens, windows, sliding doors, safety glass, car windows, art glass and leaded crystals, and mirrors.
Eco-Facts: Metals are elements that start out as rocks and require a lot of energy to mine, grind, smelt, and transport the material in order to produce consumer products. The majority of metals can be recycled endlessly without losing quality. Recycling aluminum cans requires 90 percent less energy compared to making an aluminum can from raw materials, this is partially due to the fact that recycled aluminum can be melted at a lower temperature.
Recycling Rules: For best results, all recycled metals should be empty, clean, and dry to avoid contamination.
Residential Recycling: Steel and tin cans (food cans, soup cans, veggie cans, coffee cans, etc.), soda cans, clean aluminum foil and bakeware, other small metal objects and containers.
Large and Bulky Items: Republic Services provides free pick-up of two bulky items during each service year. To schedule your free pickup call Republic Services at (928) 685-4711. Have other larger items you are looking to drop-off visit RecycleWhere or the Contra Costa Country Guide.
Eco-Facts: Industrialized paper making has effects on the environment both upstream (acquiring and processing raw materials) and downstream (waste-disposal impacts). Recycling waste paper saves it from occupying landfill and producing methane (a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) as it breaks down. Recycling paper reduces energy consumption and GHG emissions by about 75 percent, reduces water pollution by 35 percent, and air pollution by 74 percent compared to manufacturing paper using virgin material.
Recycling Rules: For best results, all recycled paper should be clean an uncontaminated. Avoid mixing other wet or dirty items in the same as those can contaminate the paper products.
Highly Recyclable Materials: Corrugated cardboard, magazines and newspaper, office paper, cardboard egg cartons, paper board, chipboard, phone books, unsolicited mail, and other clean paper products.
Items to Avoid: Paper cardboard dairy and juice cartons – these cartons are made of about 80% high quality paper fiber and 20% polyethylene (a plastic that keeps it from getting wet). The mixed nature of these product makes it very difficult to separate and recycle. These cartons are NOT recyclable in Antioch.
Paper That Should NOT Be Placed in Cart: paper cups and plates lined with wax or plastic, used paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, soiled pizza boxes, and all other contaminated papers.
Eco-Facts: Globally, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in 1950, virtually all of which still exists in some shape or form. Plastic products are polluting our land, oceans, and air which is causing ecological damage, harming wildlife, and contributing to poor health in our communities. Not only does the creation of plastic items release greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but when plastic items are littered and exposed to sunlight they emit GHG emissions along with other chemicals as the items degrade. Most plastics degrade during the recycling process and can only be recycled once successfully. The majority of the plastic items that are recycled are downcycled into nonrenewable items.
Recycling Rules: For best results, all recycled plastic containers should be empty, clean, and dry to avoid contamination. To cut litter and increase diversion, collect bread, produce, meat and other plastic bags and film into one bag. Please avoid putting loose plastic bags into your recycling cart.
What the Numbers on Plastic Items Mean: Plastics come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and chemical formulations – all with different recycling needs. The number denotes the type of plastic of which the product is made and allows consumers and producers to know how to recycle and sort the product.
What Can Be Recycled. In Antioch, plastics with codes #1 – #7 can be placed in the recycling cart. However, with the changing market for recyclables, plastics #3 – #7 are become increasingly hard to find buyers for the recycled raw materials and will often end up stockpiled or sent to a landfill. To help reduce your environmental impact, try to purchase products package in highly recyclable materials, such as, glass, metal, non-waxed cardboard, and plastics #1 – #2 plastics.