City of Somersworth Announces Stricter Rules on Scrap Imports-Change the Handling of Recycled Materials

To all Somersworth Residents,

While we all strive to recycle as much as we can to do our part to keep the household waste going to the landfills at a minimum, there have recently been some changes in the global recycling market that impact us locally.  You may not know that much of the U.S.’s plastic and paper recycling go to China for further processing.  In March, China imposed restrictions on its imported scrap materials, which affects us locally.

What has changed?  China has imposed a restriction on the quality of imported scrap materials.  What this means for us is that the recycling you put into your blue bin must be clean, and free of contamination (trash and other non-acceptable materials).  This means not mixing in un-recyclable items with the recyclable items.

Why is residential recycling being targeted?  While much of the recyclable material comes from commercial sources, residential, curbside recyclables are typically 15% to 25% contaminated.  This is a very high contamination rate when compared with the new requirement that imported scrap materials contain no more than 0.5% contamination.

Now that recycling has become a part of the fabric of our lives, we must now turn our attention to the quality of the material we put into our bins.  Since the purpose of recycling is to reuse the materials, doesn’t it make sense to put clean, uncontaminated recycling into our bins?  By helping Waste Management collect cleaner recycling, we keep the cost of recycling low in our community and increase the value of our scrap materials.

There are two (2) flyers attached to this correspondence: one specifies what can be recycled; the other specifies what cannot be recycled.

Recycling-Allowed Items


If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Public Works office at 603-692-4266.

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