Last updated on March 9, 2019
By Haley Bossert
Recycling on the Volunteer State Community College campus has been suspended due to China’s refusal to recycle the West’s plastics and papers.
Approximately 45 percent of the world’s recycled plastics have been exported to China.
As of Jan. 2018, however, China has been rejecting most imports of mixed plastics under a policy called “National Sword.”
New policies in China also state that the imports they will continue to accept must not contain non-recyclable items.
Machines do some of the work, but factory workers have to physically separate items that should not have been recycled on conveyor belts. No wonder they do not want to continue taking foreign junk!
A few things you should not recycle include: batteries, brightly colored paper, paper towels, napkins, and most shockingly, pizza boxes. The grease from the pizza absorbs into the cardboard and cannot be separated from the paper later.
The recycling bins will remain on the Vol State campus despite the suspension.
Staff and students should be aware that all recycled items, with the exception of baled cardboard, will be combined with the landfill until a solution is established.
Vol State’s Senior Director of Plant Operations William Newman said VSCC is seeking new recycling opportunities. Until a solution is found, however, students and staff should recycle at home.
There are multiple recycling services in Sumner county including: Earthsavers, LLC, Green Village Recycling, and Sumner County Resource Authority.
Erin Bloom, a Vol State faculty member in the biology division, suggests that students and faculty members take their recyclables home and avoid purchasing Styrofoam.
Bloom also recommends that students buy reusable water bottles to reduce the amount of plastic that is thrown into landfill.
Erin Bloom – Biology Faculty
William Newman – Senior Director of Plant Operations