China changing the game for recycling

Published: Jul. 19, 2018 at 6:13 PM CDT
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Shifting Chinese policies are putting recycling plants around the nation at risk.

This year the country announced it plans to ban 32 types of solid waste driving down the commodity prices for recycled goods. Low prices are forcing some plants out of the market place. In Rapid City all of the recycling in the blue bins goes to the city's Material Recovery Facility at the landfill where it is sorted and processed.

The product is sold to local company, Ace Recycling, and while landfill officials say they have seen a drop in price, making money isn't their number one driver.

"We will continue to recycle for many reasons. One of the biggest ones is it keeps it out of our landfill," said sustainability coordinator Beth-Anne Ferley. "We want to keep it out of our landfill and make alternative uses for it. Also if we keep it out of our landfill it will extend the landfill."

Ferley said the Chinese government is looking for a cleaner recycled product - something Rapid City is already producing.