Centre County Forced To Make Changes To Plastic Recycling Program

Aug 14, 2018

Centre County’s Recycling and Refuse Authority’s Miscellaneous Plastics Drop Off Program is making some changes in the type of plastics it can accept.

“We can’t take black plastic anymore, no cups, no solo cups anymore,” said Amy Schirf, education coordinator for the Recycling and Refuse Authority. “The other thing that was big was packaging. If you would open up a toothbrush and there was like that plastic packaging that goes around it – we used to take that, but we can’t take that anymore either.”

Recently several pacific rim countries, most notably China, stopped accepting scrap plastic imports below a certain purity, flooding the domestic market. Making matters worse, last week China announced a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on all scrap plastics, no matter how pure.

Because of these conditions, there’s no longer anywhere for Centre County to sell these types of plastics to be recycled. So they have to go to the landfill.

Most of what was accepted at the six plastic drop off locations across the county is still allowed. Schirf says despite a tough market, the county will recycle whatever possible in its mission to make progress towards zero waste.

“Anything that we can find markets for to recycle we’re going to take, even if we don’t make money on it,” Schirf said.   

A full list of what is and what is not acceptable in the program is available at CentreCountyRecycles.org.