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Slackened demand for recyclable plastic raises questions

A blue bag of recyclables is seen next to a garbage bag awaiting collection on Massey Drive on Thursday, July 10, 2014. The Town of Massey Drive implemented a recycling program last month.
A blue bag of recyclables is seen next to a garbage bag awaiting collection. FILE PHOTO

MOUNT WILLIAM

Pictou County residents need to continue recycling plastics despite changes in global markets, says an educator with Pictou County Solid Waste.

Susan MacDonald told The News that despite reports China has made changes to the recyclable plastics it purchases because of new environmental laws, nothing has changed in Pictou County.

“There is some talk about plastic, but the message we are giving people when asked is to continue to do what theyre doing and what theyve always done with plastic bags. Still recycle them,” she said.

If there comes a change in things we will let residents know, in the meantime do what you can do.”

Currently the Colchester Materials Recovery Facility in Kemptown accepts and processes curbside recyclables from the county.

In turn, Colchester finds buyers for its recyclable products in many different markets, ranging from local to overseas, including China.

Jann McFarlane of the CMRF said China’s National Sword 2017 policy is affecting their market in China as it is across the province.

In the Halifax area, the Department of Environment has been asked to review its policy so plastic bags could be stockpiled in a landfill because it is running out of storage space while it looks for new markets. The province has yet to make a decision on the issue.

“Colchester MRF is currently exploring all options for plastic bags, searching for new markets, speaking with the plastics association, and as a last resort, exploring the need to landfill plastic bags as a temporary solution, with a request for permission to the Nova Scotia provincial government,” said McFarlane.

MacDonald said in addition to continuing to recycle plastics as usual, people can take steps to reduce the amount of plastic they use.

“People should make a concentrated effort to take reusable bags with them or just refuse a bag,” she said. “I went into a store today and bought two chocolate bars and they wanted to put them in a bag.”

 

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