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Cities scramble to rewrite rules on recycling after China stops taking 'foreign garbage'

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China restricts recyclingOrganizers at the Tacoma event, held at LeMay Pierce County Refuse, were trying to educate the community on what’s acceptable and what’s not, based on new recycling restrictions from China. Until Jan. 1 of this year, that’s where a good portion of the recyclable trash exported by the U.S. ended up.

Make no mistake: Animal carcasses and used diapers have never been recyclable materials. But China’s crackdown — banning some items and tightening restrictions on others, including recycling staples like cardboard, scrap metal and plastic — has sent many communities across Washington and elsewhere scrambling to adapt, as trash that once was welcomed by China now could end up in local dumps.


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