PORTLAND -- Recycling plastic, including those often unwanted grocery bags, just got a whole lot easier.
Portland has extensive curbside recycling, but many types of plastic still have to be taken to drop centers if you want it recycled.
A year ago, some local recycling centers stopped accepting some forms of rigid plastics like clam shell containers. Then some started refusing plastic bags.
Industry experts said markets for recycled plastics, like China, no longer wanted to buy them.
“It depends on the market and the type of plastic,” said Metro spokesman Jim Middaugh. Metro coordinates recycling in the region. “Sometimes the price of shipping it is too expensive, or the places in China that turn plastic into other things are just not taking the stuff.”
But recently, the market shifted in favor of local recyclers.
Last month, Far West Fibers changed its recycling rules. China is once again buying plastics, as are some domestic companies.
On Wednesday at the recycling drop-off site, consumers were bringing in load after load of plastic bags and plastic containers.
Some people had been stock-piling the items in their homes, not wanting to throw them in the trash.
“It’s nice we're able to recycle everything now instead of having to throw stuff away,” said Portland resident L.J. Whipple. “There's so many clam shell things now with vegetables and tomatoes and cookies, I’m glad they're doing it now.”
In addition to once again accepting plastic bags and wrap, the recycling center is also accepting all plastic containers. They still don't accepting PVC plastics like irrigation pipes, tarps and hoses.
Middaugh said Metro’s recycling center always accepts a variety of plastics that can't be left on the curb, but depending on the market, the plastic sometimes end up in the landfill anyway.
Keely Chalmers contributed to this story