The ‘Amazon effect’ is flooding a struggling recycling system with cardboard
This holiday season, the popularity of online shopping collides with upheaval in cardboard recycling. China’s 2017 decision to turn away America’s trash has left the recycling industry reeling as it figures out what to do with all the packaging online shoppers leave behind.
Some municipal recycling programs have closed. Even the ones that haven’t still have headaches: specifically, filthy recyclables. All of that leads to more cardboard in landfills.
The rise in curbside cardboard waste coming from packaging is “the Amazon effect,” says David Biderman, the executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, an industry group. It peaks around the holidays — particularly as online shopping has only...