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  • Plastic round-up to take place

    Chinese rules on recycled material put event in question
  • Jackson County's annual plastic roundup will take place this fall despite Chinese restrictions on imports of recycled material that have complicated recycling efforts worldwide.
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  • Jackson County's annual plastic roundup will take place this fall despite Chinese restrictions on imports of recycled material that have complicated recycling efforts worldwide.
    In August, organizers of the popular local recycling event were uncertain whether the plastic roundup would take place, but they announced this month that it will move forward.
    The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26, at the Expo, 1 Peninger Road, in Central Point. Visitors to the plastic roundup should use Gate 1.5 into the fairgrounds.
    Earlier this year, China began stronger enforcement of its restrictions on imports of dirty and contaminated recyclables that were winding up in that country's landfills.
    Dubbed the "green fence," the restrictions have caused markets for many recyclables to dry up — making it harder to recycle everything from clear-plastic strawberry containers to hospital gowns here in the Rogue Valley.
    AgriPlas, the recycling company that receives material from the Jackson County plastic roundup, has committed to accepting material from the event, organizers said.
    Relationships with recyclers in the United States and Asian countries other than China, a partnership with the company Agilyz to extract petroleum from plastic and the participation of local Master Recyclers — who help ensure higher quality and better-sorted plastics — are among other factors that have allowed the roundup to take place, organizers said.
    Only clean, pre-sorted plastic will be accepted at the roundup. Because recycling markets are demanding higher-quality materials, it's more important than ever to bring in clean, pre-sorted plastics if residents and businesses want roundups to continue, organizers said.
    During an April roundup, participants brought in enough plastic to fill nearly four semi trailers, organizers said.
    Residents who have saved up plastic for the event should sort their material into categories for soft plastic, hard plastic and nursery pots and trays.
    Soft plastic includes bubble wrap, six-pack rings and dry-cleaning, grocery, Ziploc, fertilizer and seed bags.
    Hard plastic includes buckets with metal handles removed, patio furniture, laundry baskets, drink lids and synthetic wine corks.
    Items that will not be accepted include dirty plastic, food-contaminated plastic, Styrofoam, above-ground swimming pools and liners, coolers, rubber gloves, containers with chemical residue, compostable plastic and plastic with metal or electronics.
    The disposal fee is $5 per household. The fee for businesses and large loads is $5 per cubic yard.
    Because the market for recyclables will continue to fluctuate, roundup organizers recommend reducing the need to recycle by choosing durable and reusable goods, buying bulk and used products and borrowing or renting infrequently used items.
    Also look for products made with recycled materials, which closes the recycling loop, organizers said.
    The roundup is supported by the Jackson County Recycling Partnership, Jackson County SMARTWorks and Jackson County Master Recyclers.
    For more information, see www.jcrecycle.org.
    Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.
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