Stricter Chinese Recycling Rules Make It Harder to Dispose of Waste in NJ

Recycling is getting a lot more complicated, a trend that is spiking costs and leaving reams of paper, plastics and other recyclables to pile up in warehouses, or worse, in landfills.

It is a problem occurring not only in New Jersey, but across the nation as China, the biggest market for recyclables in the past, has essentially stopped accepting raw materials from foreign recycling businesses. The new policies this spring have disrupted a global market and left some communities with the unhappy prospect of paying to get rid of recyclables instead of selling the waste.

It is likely to get worse before it gets better, too, industry experts say. That means residents must adapt to tougher sorting policies when they attempt to dispose of plastics, paper, and other waste, often in the same recycling bin. That practice, dubbed “single-stream recycling,’’ is now being phased out in some cases. Instead, residents are being ordered to separate paper from cardboard, glass from plastic, food waste from other recyclables, and so on.

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