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Posted on: November 21, 2018

Commercial recycling in Del Mar affected by strict policies in China


The ripple effect of strict new policies in China is expected to be felt by commercial recycling customers in Del Mar as soon as next month.

Starting in 2018, China began enforcing its “National Sword” policy, which bans the importation of various plastics and mixed papers and reduces the contamination allowance on cardboard and other materials. China has historically been the largest buyer of recyclable goods from California and elsewhere in the U.S. 

Beginning in December, drivers for the City’s contracted hauler, Waste Management, Inc., are set to begin leaving courtesy notices on recycling bins if they see a substantial amount of trash or non-recyclables in them. For a third notice, the account holder could be charged a contamination fee of up to $54.10. The fee is not new, but the hauler has only now needed to charge it to offset the escalating cost of removing the contaminants at its recycling facility.

The City has requested that Waste Management contact all commercial account holders in Del Mar to request their cooperation and inform them about the need to keep contaminants out of recycling bins.

Meanwhile, the City is encouraging business owners and residents alike to reuse, repurpose and reduce waste whenever possible.

China’s “National Sword” policy comes as cities across California face increasing State requirements for waste diversion.

Diverting solid waste from landfills is a central element of the City’s Climate Action Plan, which also identifies water conservation, energy efficiency and alternative transportation as ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

Del Mar’s Climate Action Plan aims to divert 80 percent of its waste by 2020 and 95 percent by 2035.

For more information on what is acceptable in your recycling container visit Waste Management’s websites at or  If you have additional questions, please contact Waste Management at (858) 452-9810.

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