What China’s recyclables ban means for us | Editorial

The Sounder has reported on China’s import ban on many recyclables including plastics, mixed paper, and metal. This is changing how islanders reuse consumed goods on San Juan Island. This change is not affecting commingled recycling on Orcas and Lopez.

For those on San Juan, you will no longer be able to dump large containers of questionable items. When we send contaminated items to recycling centers it can contaminate other items that could be recycled. Dirty recycling can turn a whole batch of reusable items into the garbage. Contaminated items are one of the reasons China is saying no to our trash.

Clean, source-separated recyclables are accepted at the San Juan Island Transfer station, including aluminum cans, tin cans, mixed paper, clean cardboard, metal and wood. The ban on importing waste may also help us to be better consumers and to cut down on our garbage.

The following stations have no changes to recycling practices:

San Juan Sanitation (Curbside Collection). No change, clean commingled recyclables are collected curbside along with garbage. Visit www.sanjuansani.com or call 360-376-4709 for updates.

Orcas Island Transfer Station. No change, clean commingled recyclables are accepted along with garbage. Visit www.exchangeorcas.org or call 360-376-4089 for updates.

Lopez Island Solid Waste. No change, clean source-separated recyclables are accepted along with garbage and reusables. Visit www.lopezsolidwaste.org or call 360-468-2555 for updates.

At Orcas Recycling Services, the following commingled items are accepted: mail, envelopes; magazines and catalogs; newspapers and inserts; phone, paperback and hardcover books; office paper; shredded paper (tied in clear plastic bag); paper food boxes and egg cartons; paper grocery bags; paper cups (clean and empty); paper milk and juice cartons (rinsed); juice and soymilk boxes (rinsed); yogurt cups (rinsed); frozen food boxes (rinsed); plastic bottles, jugs (rinsed; labels OK, no caps, dome tops or straws); plastic dairy containers (rinsed); nursery pots and flats (rinsed); produce plastic bags (tied in clear plastic bag); glass bottles, jars (rinsed; all colors, caps and lids OK); empty aerosol cans; aluminum cans, foil and trays.