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”. Last year, Cyber Monday was the biggest shopping day for Amazon in the history of the company. The trend extends beyond the holidays: US Postal deliveries have doubled to 6.2 billion in 2018, from 3.1 billion in 2009."
"There’s been a more than 50% decline in the price of recovered cardboard in the US since China’s decision. Coupland believes there’s actually been as much as an 80 to 100% devaluation in some markets. That’s a big reason why cities across the country are scaling back or completely dumping their recycling programs."