New York lawmakers hold hearing on changing recycling market

The halt on China’s imports of wastepaper and plastic has disrupted U.S. recycling programs, but it also has spurred investment in American plants that process recyclables.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 6:39 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state lawmakers will hold a hearing on recycling amid China’s decision to restrict scrap imports.

The halt on China’s imports of wastepaper and plastic has disrupted U.S. recycling programs, but it also has spurred investment in American plants that process recyclables.

The heads of the state Senate and Assembly environmental conservation committees say they will take testimony to examine statewide recycling issues in New York City on Monday.

The hearing will examine New York’s recycling markets and the effectiveness of municipal recycling planning, among other issues.

Locally, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority is seeing a drop in revenue.

"Everything we take in at the recycling center in North Utica, we process it according to a certain specification, and then we sell it to people and our revenue today is about one half of what it was a year and a half ago," WIlliam Rabbia, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority said.

Rabbia says there may be a drop in revenue, but not in production.

"its important for the public to know all of our commodity continues to process and recycled."

The different now is that not all the recycled product is being shipped overseas.

"What's happening is really a shifting, our commodities now staying more domestically and staying more in the U.S. and Canada and is being processed on our continent," Rabbia said.

There is also a growth in domestic markets that could bring revenue up.

"The change in China has spurred a lot of investment in the U.S. so there's a lot of paper mills that were shut down, now many are being opened by Chinese companies, others by U.S. companies and there is more domestic processing," Rabbia said.

Rabbia says while it may be taking longer than expected for the markets to stabilize, the best thing you can do is continue to recycle properly.

"People have not stopped recycling and they need to know their efforts are paying off because by them properly separating into the single stream recycling, we then further separate it into commodities and its sold and made into new materials," Rabbia said.

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