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China doesn’t want our trash, so Idaho Falls now has nowhere to send plastic and paper recycling


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IDAHO FALLS — Idaho Falls no longer has anywhere to send plastic and paper for recycling.

China has stopped accepting almost all imports of trash from the United States and that means Idaho Falls cannot accept paper and plastic in the city’s 13 recycling bins.

“Due to the current conditions in national and even global recycling markets, municipalities all over the United States are finding it more difficult to locate vendors for paper and plastic recyclables,” a city release says. “Idaho Falls is no different. As of today, the city is regrettably removing all paper and plastic recycling containers.”

Idaho Falls City spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said this applies to the drop-off locations that are free to the public. The city does not provide curbside recycling pickup, and anyone using the service should speak to their private company and find out how they will be impacted.

RELATED: Idaho Falls now has glass recycling

“The disheartening thing is that we have a general public that wants to recycle,” Hammon told

According to a March 13, 2019, article from NPR, China cut back on plastic trash imports in 2017. Then, in January 2018, it banned almost all the remaining plastic trash imports.

While Idaho Falls can no longer accept paper and plastics, it will continue to offer recycling services of other materials.

“The city will continue to accept glass, cardboard, tin and aluminum. We just can’t do paper and plastic because there’s just no place to send it,” Hammon said.