I can’t find a link. (If you can, let me know.) But, I recall vividly Mike Striar railing against mandatory curbside recycling in Newton back when it was first being considered. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “There’s no guarantee that there will continue to be a market for recyclables.”

Fast forward a lot of years. According to this NPR report, the US exports about a 1/3 of its recyclables, half of that going to China. Now, China is shutting its doors to foreign recyclables.

China closing as a market for recyclables isn’t exactly Mike’s no-market scenario. But, it’s now a 1/6 smaller market, which probably means the price Newton’s vendor gets for recyclables will go down, perhaps sharply, which probably means the cost of garbage and recycling collection will go up with the next contract or earlier. 

At the very least, it’s something to think about. Maybe do a little more of the first two R’s.

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