New recycling ‘think tank’ aims to improve Washington’s markets, better inform residents

Source:  Spokesman-Review, Will Capmbell February 2

It’s been more than a year since China stopped accepting most recycling from the U.S., leading to a stockpile of paper, metal, glass and plastic that states like Washington have to spend more money cleaning up – or throwing away.

And since then, the market for buying metal, paper, plastic and glass to recycle them remains poor.

But now, the Washington Department of Ecology is trying to get the industry on its legs again with a proposed bill that aims to fix the problems by making local governments develop a recycling plan that the Department of Ecology must approve and creating a new “Recycling Development Center” that researches, expand markets and gives grants to local governments for recycling programs.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Jared Mead, D-Mill Creek, will be considered by the House Environment and Energy Committee this week.

The Recycling Development Center would be a catch-all for many issues in the market. It would create the statewide outreach plan for better informing people on how to recycle. It would create a policy board of public and private stakeholders in the recycling industry to evaluate, analyze and make recommendations on policies to benefit the postrecycled materials market within state borders.

The center would work with the Washington Department of Commerce, which will allow resources to be shared, said Alli Kingfisher, Department of Ecology statewide recycling coordinator.

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