At State Fair, MPCA with recycling reminders

With changes to Chinese policy, the future is uncertain -- and you can help

Sloane Martin
September 01, 2018 - 4:49 pm
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The State Fair is not just about food and entertainment. There's also plenty of opportunities to learn about multiple topics impacting the state.

At the Minnesota Pollution Control Center booth, officials voicing concern about the precarious future of recycling.

Recently, China's National Sword Policy all but shut down imports of solid waste, which includes plastic and mixed paper from the U.S. For the last five years the country had employed its labor to make the materials ready for manufacturers.

Steven Giddings with the MPCA says there are two solutions: developing local markets for recyclable materials, and making sure the materials are more "pure" for the manufacturers that use them.

The latter starts at home.

"Over on the wall here we have specific things that talk about what can go into the recycling bin and what can not," he said. "When you start throwing things into the recycling bin that don't belong there, that creates a contamination issue and that had to be taken care of somewhere down the line before it's sent to a manufacturer."

Giddings says Minnesota has a strong local market with companies trying to develop product lines or facilities to use recycled materials.

The State Fair ends Labor Day, but to learn more, go here.