Recycling in the U.S. Is Failing, But These 7 Cities Are Doing Things Right

Recycling in the U.S. Is Failing, But These 7 Cities Are Doing Things Right
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The recycling industry in America is broken. With unsellable scrap materials and already-burgeoning landfills, many consider the entire industry confusing and complex , at best, and a lost cause, at worst. Nevertheless, some local governments are trying to address program shortfalls with various policies. Over the last 20 years, as more and more scrap materials were diverted from landfills, recycling rates increased, RTS reported. Still, several factors have complicated and even stalled serious progress. First, the U.S. recycling program is less-than ideal. The single-stream system means that consumers put all recyclables (and anything else they hope can be recycled) into one bin. This has created "imperfect recycling habits" and general consumer confusion about what is and isn’t recyclable . It’s easier on the consumer, but the result has been a contamination rate of about one-fourth of U.S. recyclables, Columbia’s State of the Planet reported. The mixed-stream of materials in residential bins is subsequently trucked to a waste management facility, where it is cleaned, separated and processed into saleable bales of plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard. These are the actual products that recycling facilities sell to other countries or to companies for processing into eventual new products, a Miami recycling […]

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