Back in November, I wrote A Look at China’s Scrap Import Ban which highlighted China’s ban on certain recyclables effective January 1st, 2018.

The effect of the ban has been felt around the country. From cities in Montana that no longer accept certain materials for recycling to tractor trailer loads of paper stacked up 12 feet high in Massachusetts.

In Boise, Idaho, for example, the Chinese government’s ban of “recycled mixed plastics” has forced the local recycling provider, Republic Services, to reduce the type of plastics they will accept for recycling.

According to KVTB News, the plastic items that will no longer be accepted in the curbside recycling include “bubble wrap, filmy frozen food covers, plastic shopping bags, or any plastic labeled with numbers three through seven.”

“So that’s really had an impact on cities across the country and across the world who ship a lot of their recyclable materials to China, so essentially cities and municipalities are grappling how to deal with this,” Colin Hickman with Boise Public Works told local KVTB News, referring to the ban.

In the city of Westborough, Massachusetts which is west of Boston, bales of paper are already stacking up with nowhere to go. These bales used to be shipped to China but, because of China’s new standards, the contamination levels in the bales make them unsaleable, USA Today reports.

“We’re looking at 150 to 200 tractor trailer loads of paper. It’s stacked approximately 12 feet high, and it goes for quite a distance,” says Ben Harvey to USA Today. Mr. Harvey is president of E.L. Harvey & Sons which has been a family-run business since 1911.

It’s no longer enough to get all the recyclables in your house out to the curb on recycling day; we all need to take a look at what we’re consuming in the first place. Manufacturers and retailers need to be held accountable for the waste they are creating and passing along to the consumer. We all need to do better.