NEKWMD no longer accepting hard black plastics

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Changes in the global recycling market are making their impacts known in the Northeast Kingdom. This month, the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District (NEKWMD) received a notice from its recycled plastic vendor that many recycled plastic manufacturers are no longer accepting black plastics.

Many people are asking, “Why is black plastic so difficult to recycle?”

The notice received by the NEKWMD specified that black plastics are becoming an increasing issue at plastic recycling facilities because the optical sensing technology cannot detect the black plastics. These sensors use near-infrared radiation to detect different plastic polymers, allowing the plastics to be efficiently sorted and processed. Given that the color black does not reflect light, recycling black plastics is a growing issue. In an article published by Recycling Today, representatives from various recycling industries stated that while the technology does exist to sort black plastics, it is still too expensive to implement the technology at most recycling facilities. The article also said that even if black plastics can be properly sorted, there may not be much of a demand for the material.

NEKWMD is asking that residents of towns in the district no longer mix black plastics with their plastic recyclables. Anyone with questions regarding disposing black plastics or other items, call the NEKWMD at (802) 626-3532, or e-mail Shannon at [email protected] — from NEKWMD.

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