WINCHESTER — The Frederick County government announced Friday that it will continue to recycle plastic.
Although some details are still being worked out, Public Information Officer Karen Vacchio said plastics will be processed by Apple Valley Waste at its location in Hagerstown, Maryland.
The county, which operates the Regional Landfill on Landfill Road and 11 refuse convenience centers, had been sending mixed paper, cardboard, steel, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles, jugs and shopping bags to Southern Scrap on Stine Lane to be recycled for years.
But the worldwide recycling market has faced numerous challenges in recent years, in large part because China announced in 2017 it would stop accepting 24 kinds of recyclables. Since then, the United States and other countries have encountered difficulties getting rid of certain materials.
In July, the county entered into a new contract with Southern Scrap to continue the recycling of cardboard, bulk paper and metal cans through the end of the year. Plastics, however, wouldn't be accepted by Southern Scrap after Aug. 13. (Frederick County discontinued glass recycling in November 2016).
The new contract with Apple Valley Waste means citizens can continue doing what they have been doing: taking plastic recyclable items to the landfill or convenience sites and placing them in the proper container. The only change is that citizens must keep all plastics bags out of the recycling can.
The county advised citizens in a Friday news release to recycle plastic bags at any retail store, reuse them, throw them away or use reusable bags.
Due to an uncertain future with Southern Scrap, the county is planning on partnering with Apple Valley Waste to provide recycling services for all of its items — with the exception of glass — next year, after its current contract with Southern Scrap expires.
The county’s release says citizens should be mindful of on-site signage and the possibility that containers may change in the coming weeks as the county works to make the programs as efficient as possible.
Vacchio says the county is going to work on a public education campaign to get people to recycle right.