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Recycling program update: “Ditch Disposables, Go Reusable”

For immediate release: May 1, 2018 - 1:20pm

As of January 1, 2018, China, which buys approximately two-thirds of North America's recyclables, set new standards which prohibit the importation of recovered paper bales that are overly contaminated with plastic film (stretchy plastics such as bags and wrap).

The resulting decrease in market options and increased demand for higher quality recyclable materials means that Saskatoon’s recyclers cannot sell all the material that they are collecting and are instead stockpiling a substantial portion.

“Soft stretchable plastics too easily end up in bales of paper and cardboard which is the cause of the contamination that will no longer meet China’s standards.” says Brenda Wallace, Director of Environmental and Corporate Initiatives. “By eliminating plastic film from our recycling program we are able to ensure our other materials, such as paper and cardboard – which make up 76 per cent of our recyclable materials – are still meeting global standards and can continue to be recycled.”

To help explain the new change to the program, a communications campaign launched April 30, 2018.  It promotes tips for reducing the use of plastic film while encouraging the use of reusable products such as cloth bags, and hard plastic and glass containers.

With the recognition plastic film can’t be avoided sometimes, the campaign also promotes some helpful tips for re-using bags and film to keep it from being a one-time use item.

The recycling campaign supports the Strategic Goal of Environmental Leadership and the City’s target of diverting 70% of waste by 2023.

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