China's National Sword prompts Waste Management to adapt recycling routes in Washington

China's National Sword prompts Waste Management to adapt recycling routes in Washington

Recyclables affected by stricter import rules will be transported to Spokane, Washington.

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October 13, 2017
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation and regulations Municipal Recycling
Waste Management (WM), headquartered in Houston, will begin transporting recyclables from its Washington state customers to Spokane, Washington, in response to China’s import limits, a report by the Daily Record News says. In July, the Chinese government cracked down on importing 24 kinds of material, including certain types of unsorted paper and plastic.

Kittitas County Solid Waste Director Patti Johnson says in the report that the crackdown includes items such as yogurt containers and pizza boxes, which will affect areas like Seattle.

Currently, materials brought to Kittitas County transfer stations are hauled to Woodinville, Washington, by WM, then transported to Seattle for final shipment to China. Now, Johnson says WM will be sending recyclables to Spokane by the end of the year without any change in cost to the county.

The county also is scouting locations for its Ellensburg transfer station that serves customers from Elk Heights to Vantage. The current location has limited space and continuous issues with flooding, the report says. County officials are evaluating proposed sites at a cement plant, Bowers Field Airport and near Tjossem Road. Kittitas County officials are accepting public input online and during meetings.

The report says the county also is undergoing improvements for its septic waste screening process and is facing some challenges. Johnson says in the report that the county currently accepts 1.2 million gallons of septic waste per year and must develop a nearby water supply to help clean the bar screen that septic waste flows through.

The report says the screen’s holes are 3/8 inches wide, and adequate water is needed for an improved processing time.

County commissioners have suggested trucking water in from neighboring counties and drilling new wells.