Recycling in China
Cristina PolsgroveSince the bans adopted by China earlier this year around what plastic they will accept, the ripple effect on recycling continues to be felt. The rumors abound – everything from the recycling industry is dead to “nothing we recycle gets recycled anyway.” What better way to clear up some rumors about the impact of China and plan of action for Tucson than by interviewing our trusted friend and repeat guest, Cristina Polsgrove? Cristina has been able to answer every recycling question I have asked her for the past 10 years. I believe you will be encouraged by what she has to share about Tucson’s plan of action for our recycled waste. This show made possible due to the generous support of the City of Tucson Department of Environmental Services.




  • 1/3 of the recyclables produced in the USA were going to China – as of January 1st, China has said they don’t want our garbage any longer.
  • Because there were not strong enough restrictions in the past, contamination rates on recyclables was very high.
  • As of January 1st, China will no longer accept recyclables that have more than ½ a percent contamination – how is that measured and what happens if it is not acceptable? Cristina gives us the clear message and what the carbon footprint looks like when contamination is found.
  • What is the current status of China in terms of their growth and their impact on the planet? How does it match up with where the USA was in the 1970s? Learn more on this show!
  • What is the cycle of recyclables when they leave our homes? Cristina helps us understand, not only what happens when it leaves our home, but reminds us as to what is truly recyclable (and if it is a product that is not truly reusable, should we recycle it?)
  • REDUCE is absolutely the key – we need to reduce our consumption of material that does not have another life use. The focus on plastic needs to be on reduction, not recycling.
  • There are four items that have consistently held their value in the marketplace: cardboard, metal cans, plastic bottles and jugs (number ones and twos)
  • Calling entrepreneurs – how can we increase the value of glass in the marketplace?
  • What are the stats regarding recycling in Tucson? Cristina gives us the highs and lows of our community and how we can all take a few steps toward being better.
  • If you live in an apartment complex that does not offer recycling, what do you do? If you live in a town that does not offer recycling, what do you do? Solutions shared on this show!
  • Involved with school as a teacher, administrator or parent? You can bring recycling/waste education to your students! Learn more here!




Music used in this podcast is copyrighted and licensed through Turtle Island Records/Libby Roderick Music