China’s policy change on accepting recyclables has Calgary exploring new markets
The City of Calgary has begun stockpiling some of its recyclables as officials search for new marketplaces after China announced new measures reducing what materials it would accept.
“With the introduction of the new national sword policy, Chinese importers are not really accepting a lot of material,” explained Sharon Howland, leader of program management City of Calgary Waste and Recycling Services. “What they were running into was mills and manufacturers were actually receiving imported recyclables that hadn’t been sorted properly so it had contaminants in it.”
“It’s really a matter of a few companies that weren’t sorting their material properly ruining it for the rest of us that had been sorting it properly.”
Howland says the recyclables collected by the City of Calgary are sorted at the Cascade Recovery sorting facility and the company then markets the material to the global marketplace. Roughly half of the recyclables are sent within North America while the remainder ended up abroad. “The vast majority of that global portion used to go to China.”
“Not taking in certain recyclables and they’ve established significantly higher quality standards as well.”
Since early October 2017, the City has been storing some recyclables in some its trailers and warehouses. “As I understand it, we are not in a panic,” said Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu before conceding. “I get it. 5,000 tons, that a lot to anybody.”
Howland says the stored paper and plastic will not end up in landfills.
“It’s an opportunity for us to explore markets outside of China and there are a lot of other manufacturers and mills that are looking for good quality recycling materials that can be turned into new products and packaging,” said Howland. “
The City of Calgary is open to opportunities whether they’re local or international.
With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe