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Boise Gets $50K Grant To Turn Plastics Banned From China Into Diesel

Idaho Statesman
Materials get sorted at the Western Recycling facility in Boise. Starting later in the spring, some plastics will be sent to Utah to become synthetic diesel.

Communities around the world – including in Idaho – have grown accustomed to sending their recycled plastic to China. But on January first, a new Chinese policy went into effect that bans the importation of certain plastics.

That’s where Dow Chemical comes in ... with a $50,000 grant to the City of Boise. The international plastics company has selected Boise and Cobb County, Georgia, to pilot a new initiative that will allow residents to continue recycling plastics that China has banned. According to Haley Falconer with the City of Boise, the upcoming program will actually let residents recycle more than they have in the past:

“Produce bags and grocery bags, Styrofoam and bubble wrap. The squeeze food pouches like apple sauce or fruit pouches that kids eat…”

But there will be some plastics Boiseans won’t be able to recycle anymore – like those containers strawberries and raspberries come in. Falconer says folks will also have to learn how to sort plastics before dropping them in the blue bins on the curb. Once collected, the materials will be sent to a Utah facility where it will be turned into a synthetic diesel fuel – at no added expense to Boise households.

For now, Boiseans can continue recycling as they have been. City officials say they’ll release more information about the upcoming program over the next few months.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.

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