SPOKANE, Wash. — After China announced it is no longer accepting plastic waste imports, many U.S. cities, including Spokane, are trying to figure out what to do with their plastic recyclables.
To start the recycling process, the City of Spokane collects your plastic materials and sends them to a Waste Management facility.
Waste Management then sorts those materials and sends them to domestic companies that are willing to recycle those plastics.
Since the ban, many companies are taking in tons more of plastics than before. Some of them are having a difficult time finding what to do with all of them.
Kris Major with the City of Spokane said many plastics have a negative value. This means it costs more to recycle them than what they are worth.
Major said some cities, like Deer Park and Spokane Valley, are considering no longer accepting certain plastics.
This would include plastics with the three to seven number symbols.
These are items like shampoo bottles, PVC pipes, plastic shopping bags, straws and disposable plates and cups.
You can tell a plastic item’s number from the little recycle triangle usually located near the bottom of the product.
Major said Spokane is doing OK for now in not sending recyclable plastics to landfills but that could change in the coming years.