By Zoe Yuqing Han
BU News Service
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is pushing forward with a variety of programs to assist cities and towns facing the difficult market and rising costs of recycling.
After losing China as the biggest buyer of recyclables almost two years ago, institutions across Massachusetts are making efforts to keep up with the loss and battle back.
Although a market still exists, the plummet in demand has created a steep slide in prices. Recycling professionals currently working in materials recycling facilities say the market is at the lowest point in more than 30 years, adding the loss of such a huge market like China leaves an incomparable hole that no other markets could possibly fill.
In response, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is pushing forward with a variety of programs to assist cities and towns facing the difficult market and rising costs.
John Fischer, the deputy division director of solid waste materials management, said the priority is to improve the quality of recyclable stream.
“We feel like accomplishing that is the single best thing we can do collectively to address recycling market challenges,” he said.
Since 2010 China has tightened the contamination rate it accepts from 10% to the current level of 0.5%, while a 2018 report by Casella, a materials recycling facility with operations in the state, found the contamination rate of the recyclables it receives sits around 25%.
To reduce contamination,…