Recycling the right materials isn’t just a local issue—it’s international. China has historically been one of the U.S.’s top buyers of recyclables, but for over a year, it’s been putting restrictions on which materials it will import.
Those changes led cities and recyclers to scramble to find markets for their recyclables. Some have launched outreach campaigns to change recycling habits, some are raising rates for waste management, and others are simply stockpiling their recyclables until they can find buyers.
The city of Bakersfield, however is trying something novel: It’s combining some of its recyclables with its compost. Kevin Barnes, solid waste director with Bakersfield’s Department of Public Works, talks able the latest recycling import policies out of China and what they’ve meant for Bakersfield.