ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Douglas County will no longer be recycling any materials starting June 1.
This means residents will have to find ways to reuse and repurpose what they buy or have them taken to the landfill.
Until Jan. 1, the majority of West Coast communities shipped their recycling to port cities to have it sorted and taken to China.
At that time, China decided to stop taking the majority of recyclables because they were getting too many contaminated or non-recyclable materials.
“Jan. 1, those new rules went into place, and it really increased our overall cost on the entire West Coast," said Shane Kalar, CEO of Sunrise Enterprises.
In Douglas County, that cost to take recyclables to Portland went up to $165.
To put those materials into a local landfill, it only costs $75.
So, the county had to work with the department of environmental quality to decide that putting a stop to recycling is the best solution for now.
But locals say there could be better options.
“It’s to be addressed right here,” Winston resident Craig Warren said. “Why not do your own recycling here? Not only the jobs it creates, but it also keeps your environment clean. I mean, Oregon has some of the cleanest roads around, and for a good reason, because people actually put a little effort into it.”
He even suggests creating a steel mill in Malin, Oregon.
“There’s a huge amount of natural gas resources, and that could be made into a natural-gas powered steel mill which could take all the recycling. It’d put Malin on the map.”
Until the DEQ and Douglas County come up with another avenue for recycling or develop a new strategy, landfilling will be the answer.
Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said the landfill has a nearly 50-year life span, but they’re working on a partnership with regional landfills to limit the impact on the one in Roseburg.
There is good news for Roseburg Disposal customers, however.
The company has announced they will be continuing with their recycling program through the month of June.
On July 1, they will only be accepting corrugated cardboard, rinsed out aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles and jars, and used motor oil.
All plastic and paper will no longer be collected curbside after July 1.
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