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Your Recycling Heads to Dump as China Gets Picky About Waste

Dec. 6, 2017, 1:35 PM

Amid the pear orchards and wineries of southern Oregon, more than 90 percent of residents dutifully dump discarded junk mail, unwanted phone books and old magazines into specially marked gray and red recycling bins. And every other week, the canisters get wheeled to the curb for pickup, as most of the contents begin their long trip to China.

But the economics of this four-decade-old ritual are being upended, as is much of the recycling industry in the U.S.— the world’s largest producer of waste. China, which buys more junk than anyone, is cutting way back. The country is trying to ...

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