Why Recycling Guidelines Change, Bottle Caps, and More

In 2001 the state of Indiana estimated that we would be at 50% recycling capacity by 2025… we are currently only at 19%.

I know some of you may be saying, “I try to recycle, but the rules keep changing. It’s all so confusing.”

So let us help you out.

Let’s rewind back to five years ago. In 2018, China imposed a new ban on accepted recycling commodities, making it virtually impossible to meet their requirements. At that time, China was purchasing 30% of our country’s recyclables. Now, with new regulations, the U.S. is struggling to find other buyers.

This leads me to our next point. Supply and demand. Recyclability is determined by the market, which is ever-changing. Is there a company that will buy the materials and turn them into something else? If the answer is no, products in question will be deemed non-recyclable.

Furthermore, supply and demand correlates to your location. Meaning, recycling is regional. For example, what we recycle curbside here may be different than what they recycle in Indianapolis, South Bend, Detroit, or even San Francisco. The majority of Northwest Indiana recycling goes to Homewood Disposal, in Homewood, Illinois for sorting. To see the process in depth, watch their video https://youtu.be/3Lzsu8SXaWY.

A common recycling practice that has changed— bottle caps. The rule of thumb had always been, leave caps off your bottles and jugs. However, this method was determined to be wasteful and inconvenient, causing caps to fall through the cracks during the sorting process. Nowadays, we advise residents to keep all caps ON.

Companies such as Green Tree Plastics have long accepted your plastic caps and have made them into benches and other products. Recently, the owners announced their retirement but have luckily found a new owner to take over the business. With this being said, if you are one of the people who have been saving your caps, don’t throw them away! Green Tree Plastics ABC Partnership will accept them. You may also contact us. We can provide you with a list of local groups who collect bottle caps. Otherwise, keep your caps on when recycling to prevent them slipping through machinery during sorting.

When new rules are discovered for the disposal process, we do our best to keep residents updated. It can be tricky to get the message out, so we ask everyone to stay updated with local recycling districts to ensure correct recycling protocol. Here in Porter County, you can stay in the loop by reading these blogs, subscribing to our newsletter at the bottom of this page, and following us on Facebook Recycle Porter County | Facebook.

Despite inevitable changes in recycling guidelines, adaptability is key. We appreciate the initiative residents take by visiting our compost sites, calling with questions, and reading our e-material.

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