(NBC News) Many waste companies are struggling to find buyers for recycled materials after China stopped importing mixed recycling from the U.S. at the beginning of the year.
"There have been instances had to move that material to landfills just to free up space at our facilities," said Pete Keller, Vice President of Republic Services Inc.
Recycling facilities are also facing higher operating costs due to "wishful recycling," when people put things into their recycle bins in hopes that it is recyclable. Items such as grocery bags, hose pipes, and pillows can't be processed at most facilities.
Industry experts say the system is "broken" and that it could mean higher costs for consumers.
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