Chinese ban on foreign recycling won't affect B.C.: industry

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The organization charged with managing B.C.’s recyclable waste said the Metro Vancouver region won’t be affected by a new Chinese ban on foreign recycling material.

China, which used to be the main recipient of the world’s recyclable plastics and paper, shut the door on most overseas products in December.

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But Recycle BC director Alan Langdon said the move will have little impact on the province’s operations.

“We’ve actually been processing all our plastics here in B.C. for the last three-and-a-half years, therefore no real impact,” he said.

“The paper and cardboard that we are sending over, we right now have the cleanest material in North America, so we’re still able to meet standards and have it accepted by China.”

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Langdon said the high quality of B.C. recycling means the province has access to markets that other jurisdictions don’t.

That’s in contrast to some Canadian and American cities that have stockpiles of paper and plastics.

“Certainly we’re watching other places like Oregon that’s had to landfill its material, or Calgary that’s had to start warehousing its material,” Langdon said.

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Matthew Keliher, manager of solid waste for Halifax, said three-quarters of his city’s recyclables used to go to China.

Nova Scotia is now considering burying plastic bags in landfills, a practice that has been banned for decades.

Calgary, which used to send all of its paper recyclables and half of its plastics to China, has amassed 5,000 tonnes of material.

Recycle BC, an industry-operated non-profit organization, took over responsibility of the province’s recycling waste in 2014.

Since then, the organization has implemented stricter rules around the disposal of wastes, such as separating glass from plastics before curbside pickup.

  • With files from the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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