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Boise Re-Learns How To Recycle After China's Ban On Plastics

Raul Pacheco-Vega
Flickr Creative Commons
Boise recycling customers will no longer be able to recycle plastic water bottles.

In Boise, the days of throwing all of your recyclable material in the same bin are over. That’s because China -- which used to accept recycled material from around the world -- put stringent new standards into effect January 1. 

The ban is forcing communities around the world to figure out fresh ways to keep plastic out of landfills.

Colin Hickman is with the City of Boise, where officials have been trying to find the best way to retain the town’s 98 percent recycling rate. 

“[We want to make sure that] whatever work that we put forward, whatever programs we put into place, that those reflect those same community values.”

Hickman says the big challenge now is effectively educating the public about what can and can’t be recycled.

In the next few weeks, customers will receive an orange bag and instructions of which plastics should be put in them. Wrappers for meat, cheese, candy and even chip bags are good to go, according to Hickman. The orange bags will then be sent to a Salt Lake City company, where the contents will be converted into diesel fuel.

But Boiseans will have to get used to throwing away all plastic water bottles, as well as fruit and vegetable containers with a clamshell style packaging. Hickman says for now, paper recycling remains the same – but to stay tuned for more possible changes.

See below for Boise's new recycling instructions. The guide will be sent to every home. 

Credit City of Boise

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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