- Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling
- New international requirements for the export and import of plastic recyclables and waste will be effective on January 1, 2021.
- Save Our Seas 2.0 Act passes, authorizing $55 million in grant funds to support improvement to local post-consumer materials management, including municipal recycling programs.
- See CalRecycle’s Deputy Director of Policy Development give testimony at the Joint Hearing Assembly Select Committee On Waste Reduction And Recycling And Natural Resources.
- In November 2020, China confirms expanded import ban beginning January 1, 2020 that includes recovered fiber.
Recycling in California
The export of recyclable materials is a key component of California's recycling infrastructure. Changes to international policies restricting imports of recyclable materials, the declining global market for plastic and paper scrap, and the impending Basel Convention plastic waste amendments that will make exporting plastic scrap more challenging continue to pose a significant challenge to the solid waste and recycling industry, local governments, and Californians.
The COVID-19 pandemic had local and global impacts on the trade of recyclable materials, as the volume of recyclable material in the residential stream increased and the cleaner commercial recyclables stream temporarily dried up, temporarily increasing the value of some recyclables due to tightened supply markets. This shift in collection trends may last for years as businesses continue to recover from COVID-19 impacts.
International Policies Affecting Global Commodity Markets
Global policies are reshaping the flow of recyclable material around the world. See a timeline of major policies impact international trade of recyclables, including the Basel Convention and China’s solid waste import ban.
State Response and Resources
Please visit the following links for more information about:
- COVID-19 Resources and Updates – CalRecycle and government guidance and business assistance information.
- Guidance on additional storage of recycled materials at solid waste facilities In addition.
- Additional information on the state’s responses and resources on recycling market issues.
Local Response and Resources
See more information about how California jurisdictions have responded to market changes.
Additional Information on International Recycling Markets
- United States Environmental Protection Agency – New international requirements for the export and import of plastic recyclables and waste
- Basel Convention – Questions and answers related to the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments
- OECD – Summary on the OECD Council Decision on plastic waste
- EPA Webinars (YouTube) – New International Requirements for Exports and Imports of Plastic Scrap (for state and local governments and for the regulated community)
Research and Publications
- OECD (For the G7 Environment, Energy and Oceans Ministers): Improving Plastics Management: Trends, policy responses and the role of international co-operation and trade (September 2018)
- Science Advances: The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade (June 2018)
- Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives: Discarded–Communities of the Frontlines of the Global Plastic Crisis
- From Green Fence to red alert: A China timeline, Resource Recycling
- Media’s Response to the Recycling Markets Crisis up-to-date list of media articles), California Refuse Recycling Council
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