An important new report issued by the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF)provides a number of significant observations and insights regarding the impacts of China’s National Sword Policy on curbside recycling programs in the United States and Canada and the resets that can be made to address them.
At WASTECON®, in Phoenix, Arizona, David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO, announced the report, “Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China,” will be made available immediately to SWANA members for free. This announcement comes after a substantial number of requests for the report.
“I am very pleased to make this important report available to our members, as it contains useful information that municipal officials and others need during these challenging times,” said David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO. He added, “local governments have several options that are preferable to dropping curbside recycling, and this ARF report provides crucial data, guidance, and recommendations that will help them assess these alternatives.”
China’s National Sword policy banned the import of several recyclable materials from all countries — including mixed paper and mixed plastics — on January 1, 2018 and reduced the acceptable level of contamination in scrap and recyclable materials not banned to 0.5% effective March 1, 2018.China also imposed tariffs on many recyclables specifically from the United States — including cardboard, other recovered fiber, metals, and plastics — in August 2018.
According to the ARF report, National Sword has contributed substantially to a 50% reduction in the revenues received from the sale of recyclables recovered through curbside recycling. In addition, it has resulted in increased processing costs at material recovery facilities (MRFs).
“The China National Sword policy is providing recycling program managers with an opportunity to reevaluate the costs, funding mechanisms and materials targeted by their curbside recycling programs in an effort to make them more sustainable and effective,” said Jeremy O’Brien, P.E., SWANA’s Director of Applied Research.
The report presents several options that can be implemented to counter the impacts of China’s National Sword policy. One example would be to switch from a weekly to bi-weekly schedule for curbside recyclables collection.
The next month will be an active one on the recycling policy front with the November 15th release of EPA’s long-awaited national recycling framework, as part of its America Recycles Day (ARD) activities and continued congressional activity on a variety of bills that would provide financial support to municipal recycling programs.
For more information, visit https://swana.org/.