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Does Walla Walla Recycle? You Would Think So

Does Walla Walla Recycle? You Would Think So

Why Walla Walla Valley County Says No to Recycling 

By Emma Echelmeier 

Although Walla Walla Valley County has recycling, the recycled items do not end up helping the local environment the way they have in the past. 

Recycling has many benefits for individual local environments and the entire world. It lowers the amount of waste products that get sent to landfills.1 It helps conserve usable resources like water, logging materials, and minerals, and even increases economic security.2 Recycling prevents pollution by decreasing the need for obtaining new raw materials and saves further energy by requiring fewer new materials to process.It even creates new jobs and supports manufacturing industries in America. 

Before the fall of 2019, the cities of College Place and Walla Walla had a regular recycling program going.5 Residents would leave their recycled materials in a blue basin which would be picked up by Basin Disposal and delivered to Walla Walla Recycling Center.6 The material was then shipped to Pioneer Recycling Services, where it would be separated, sorted, and then sent to China to be reused and transformed into new materials.7 

What changed? The rules about what can and cannot be recycled were changed, along with contamination levels. Contamination occurs when non-recyclable material ends up with recyclable material. Recycling plastic and paper became costly for the local center, so they no longer accept these items, and China has lowered the contamination level drastically from what it used to be.8 This has made it difficult for many towns in America to continue their recycling programs.9 

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Where does all the material go now? The Walla Walla Recycling Center sends the materials they still receive to the landfill, due to the difference in cost and contamination levels.10 Walla Walla residents have mixed opinions. This impacts the local environment because although certain materials are still sent to the recycling center, they do not truly end up getting recycled. The landfill now contains more unnecessary materials than it could. 

Students can research their own local recycling centers to see if they follow rules similar to Walla Walla’s, or if the recycling is manageable enough to actually reuse. 

Citations 

  1. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2020, July 15). Recycling Basics. Retrieved from http://bitly.ws/avB5
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. LeValley, C. (2020, August 24). Walla Walla faces reality of global recycling problem. Retrieved from http://bitly.ws/avBi
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
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