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Forums on recycling issues set for Wednesday, next Thursday

April 3, 2019 GMT

DailyNewsstaff

BULLHEAD CITY — In an attempt to salvage its recycling program locally, Republic Services will conduct a pair of public forums to educate residents on the status of the program and changes that may be implemented.

The first forum will be at noon today in the Bullhead City Council Chamber, 2355 Trane Road. The second forum will be at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

“Republic encourages Bullhead City residents, local business owners and the general public to attend one of the two offered forums,” the company said in a news release. “These forums are free and open to the public.

“Attendees of the forum can expect a 11/2-hour program with a presentation by Republic Services General Manager Matt Kross, followed by questions and answers. Republic continues to work closely with city officials to improve the current recycling program in Bullhead City.”

City officials are planning to attend the forums.

At a recent City Council meeting, Republic officials noted that the local recycling program, like many in the country, has become counterproductive because of contamination of recyclables that have greatly reduced their value.

“For decades, China has been the largest importer of the world’s recycled commodity, and the U.S. was 40 percent of the inbound stream,” the Republic release said. “In 2017, China announced efforts to clean up their country, which included dramatic changes for acceptance criteria of imported recyclables. This meant a significant reduction in acceptable contamination levels in recovered recyclable materials. Additionally, China banned all mixed paper, regardless of contamination levels.

“What is contamination? When talking about recycling contamination, it’s anything that can’t be recycled — including food waste, Styrofoam, diapers, batteries, clothing items and shoes and other items that either need to be reused, repurposed or disposed of in the trash. Contamination is rampant through our local recycling program. And this problem was recently compounded by China’s decision to impose their new acceptance criteria.

“That does this mean for us? Our local recycling program has reached a crisis with the current model, and we have to make changes to our current recycling business model. The factors mentioned above seriously jeopardize the future of our local recycling program in Bullhead City.”

Republic plans to discuss changes to the program during the forums, changes the company said are necessary “to ensure the program is durable and sustainable for many years to come.”