The Fredericktown City Council voted to discontinue recycling services and will close the recycling center today.
“The time has come,” City Administrator James Settle said. “The fact is nobody wants to do it but we aren’t getting rid of anything, and now we are hauling it to the dump. I know nobody wants to hear it, but we aren’t the only ones having this trouble.”
Fredericktown is not the first to discontinue their recycling services with Desloge, Park Hills and Bonne Terre ending theirs last year.
Settle said he even attempted to take a load of recycling to Quincy last week but when he called they would not take it.
“They won’t take it,” Settle said. “They said they are sitting in the same situation we are in and have nowhere to go with it. I guess they are shutting down the distribution centers, too.”
Beginning in 2018, China enforced a ban on importing plastic wastes and other recyclables from outside countries. This has had an impact around the world, as most of the world’s recyclables were sent to China for processing. The ban, which is referred to as the “National Sword” policy, is causing problems regarding recycling in America.
Since China will no longer accept imported recyclables, transfer stations across the United States have nowhere to send that waste and are being forced to change the way they operate.
Settle said they have had stacks of recyclables, including paper, sitting outside the recycling center due to lack of room and have had to haul it away to prevent it from collecting water. He said once certain items collect water they begin to swell, take up more room and become heavy.
“It’s a bad deal and nobody likes it, but it pretty much is going to have to happen for now,” Settle said. “We need to use the manpower in a more efficient way besides what they are doing now.”
Settle said he will move the current employees to new positions and the building will hold the mowing crew for the time being.
“It’s just not going to change any time quick,” Settle said. “I think we need to stop the recycling and start picking up everything with the trash.”
While some transfer stations may still accept recyclables such as cardboard and newspapers, it is not single-stream, and the items have to be separated prior to being brought to the transfer station.
Single-stream recycling simply means that companies or cities are able to send all of their recyclables, whether it be paper or plastic or cardboard, and dump it into the back of one truck to have it taken to the transfer station. The transfer station would then sort out the different types of recyclables before exporting it.
So, if cities still wanted to send their recycling now they would have to separate it all by hand. Due to the stringent rules laid out in China’s ban about what they will and will not accept, many companies and cities do not believe it would be worth the time or the money to do anything but single-stream recycling.
Settle said the topic can always be brought back up in the future and when and if the market returns the city could once again start collecting recycling.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com