Ask 13: Where do those recycled items really go?

"I have read recently about the increased costs of recycling because of restrictions on exports to China and am wondering if our local recycling is really being recycled or put in the landfill," Jeanne Devany Cummings, of Asheville, wrote to Ask 13. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The need for recycling and reducing pressure on landfills couldn't be greater. So, why are costs related to recycling reportedly going up?

The cost of the raw materials for some of these items is continually in flux -- and that affects the cost of recycling. But now there's apparently another reason for price increases.

"I have read recently about the increased costs of recycling because of restrictions on exports to China and am wondering if our local recycling is really being recycled or put in the landfill," Jeanne Devany Cummings, of Asheville, wrote to Ask 13.

Curbside Management president Barry Lawson said restrictions on exports have affected some of the company's end markets for paper items. They're now being shipped to India and other southeast Asian markets instead of China and to more domestic markets. But, Lawson said, despite the restrictions, none of the Asheville company's recycled products are going in to the landfill.

"We've continued to have markets for our materials that are coming in, even though it has been tougher and quality standards have changed," Lawson said.

Because of changing quality standards, some buyers are restricting recycled materials that are mixed or not allowed. Curbside has upgraded some of its machinery and processes.

But Lawson said the company needs more community support to make sure what people are throwing in the recycling bin is only material that's accepted.

If you have a question you'd like answered, write to Ask13@wlos.com.

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