China impacts local recycling

The policy of China to take less plastic recycling material from the U.S. has increased the costs of recycling to cities and towns including Wilton, according to First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.

Vanderslice told the Board of Selectmen July 23 that Chris Burney, the town’s public works and facilities director, expects a $100,000 cost to the town once the current recyclables contract with City Carting of Stamford expires at the end of this year.

“Where before towns could sell their recyclables to a business like City Carting, they are now required to pay City Carting to take the recyclables,” Vanderslice told the selectmen.

She aid the obvious solution is for individuals to take personal responsibility and reduce their waste, and that will require education and awareness campaigns to continue.

The town is partnering with Keep America Beautiful, which sponsors of a national recycling week in November. “The Environmental Affairs Department will be working with them to develop a multi-week awareness campaign running up to November,” she said.

The town will also look at regional solutions. Ridgefield, Bethel, Redding and other surrounding towns are already in a regional waste management group.

China’s decision to stop accepting plastic waste from other countries is causing plastic to pile up around the globe, and wealthy countries must find a way to slow the accumulation of one of the most ubiquitous materials on the planet, according to an Associated Press report.

Scientists sought to quantify the impact of the Chinese import ban on the worldwide trade in plastic waste, and found that other nations might need to find a destination for more than 122 million tons (110 million metric tons) of plastic by 2030. The ban went into effect Dec. 31, 2017, and the stockpiling trend figures to worsen.