Keep Your Recycling Clean – China Tightens Recycling Import Rules

Did you know that 60% of the recyclable materials collected in the U.S. go to China to be recycled into new products? Historically, China accepted up to 5% non-recyclable contaminants (garbage or food waste) in bales of recyclable materials. As of March 2018, the Chinese government is now enforcing a policy called National Sword, which severely restricts the import of recyclable plastics and paper. China will only accept bales containing less than 1% contamination and will return any shipments that fail to meet that standard. This is a big change and has had a crippling effect on recycle markets around the globe. We need your help! DOWNLOAD THE PDF.


  • Keep your recycling clean and free of contaminants.
  • Food containers, like pasta sauce jars or yogurt cups should be empty and dry. Use dish water to swish, or a used napkin to wipe them out (napkins are compostable).
  • Do not place recyclables in plastic bags. They will not be opened at our sorting facility. This means they will be sent to the landfill as garbage.
  • Plastic bags, film plastics, coffee cups, and Styrofoam belong in the garbage.
  • Greasy pizza boxes and other food soiled paper should be placed in your green compost cart, not the recycling cart.
  • Don’t be a hopeful recycler. Visit our website, send us an email, or give us a call. When in doubt, check it out!