ABC Disposal Says International Recycling Crisis Demands Change
NEW BEDFORD - The president of ABC Disposal Service, Inc., says his hands are tied by an international recycling crisis being created by Chinese policy. Mike Camara says China's Sword policy has caused the bottom to fall out of the recycling industry, as the nation has put heavy restrictions on what recyclables it imports.
Camara tells WBSM's Phil Paleologos the policy was put in place after China's president saw a video of Chinese citizens routinely burning plastic.
"Now the environment's first and money's second," said Camara of China. "In fact, this year they've only issued 5% of the permits for facilities that import recyclables into the country. That means 95% of the facilities that were receiving our recyclables were bad, impacting the environment."
Camara says the policy has severely devalued the recycled products his company is contractually obligated to collect. He says the new policy is forcing the shutdown of many recycling processing facilities across the state, literally leaving ABC Disposal holding the bag.
"We deliver it to other facilities. They process this material. They market the materials. Now there's no market. So what had value when we started this contract, there's no value now. It's gone away. And it's not going to come back for a long time. It could be 25 years before we see it come back.
Camara recently informed the communities ABC is contracted with for recycling removal that in order to continue services, he's going to need to raise prices. Five cities and towns are requesting to look at ABC's financial records to determine if the company can remain viable without increased fees.
Outside of China abandoning its policy, Camara says drastic changes will have to take place at home, including what is currently deemed recyclable.
"Glass needs to go. The mixed paper needs to go. At some point, we might need to take the soda bottles out, [since they contain] PET, because China's banning that June 1. There will be a massive supply, but not enough demand to take it."
Camara also suggested that the United States begin attracting facilities that can break down recyclables into reusable product in order to sustain the recycling industry if the Sword policy remains in place.