China's "National Sword" Policy or Blue Sky 2018

WSRA is committed to monitoring and sharing as much information as possible in regards to China's recent restrictions on imported recyclable materials which are likely to have significant impacts on Washington state’s residential and commercial recycling programs, and our membership. We've compiled and will continue to update this page with relevant information on this situation. 

WSRA Conference:

Join us at our Annual Conference and Trade Show at Semiahmoo Resort, May 20-23. Our theme this year is "Navigating the Waves of Change" threading the changes the industry is seeing currently throughout our programming.  Here are some highlighted sessions that will focus on recycling markets and the impacts of China's National Sword. You can view the full schedule of sessions HERE.  

  • Opening Keynote Address with Allen Langdon, Recycle BC  
  • "How Did We Get Into This Mess & What Can We Do About It?" with Dave Claugus, Pioneer Recycling Services (Monday 5/21, 3-5 PM)
  • “How They Hangin?"– A Market Update - with Dave Keeling, Steel Recycling Institute; Tonya Randall, More Recycling; Matthew D. Zwicker, Strategic Materials; Terry Webber, American Forest and Paper Association; Emily Tipaldo, American Chemistry Council (Tuesday 5/22, 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM)

ContaminationFest WRED Event Wrap Up: 

In the wake of China's National Sword, we explored the reality of recycling contamination, how bad it is, and potential solutions to clean our act up. You can find the presentations and resources HERE 

WSRA Fall Policy Forum Wrap Up: 

Thank you to those that joined us for our Fall Policy Forum on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, to hear more about the impacts of the China National Sword policy on our state’s recycling infrastructure.  Here are the related speaker presentations from that event: 

Washington State Department of Ecology: 

Statement from Ecology - "Ecology is expanding the work and scope of our commingled improvement recycling project. Working with partners from local governments, processers, collectors, exporters and end users we are strategizing on both the short and long term. 

In Washington, recycling regulations are set by local governments. Ecology is advising local governments to be flexible as our state’s recycling system adapts to these new regulations."

"We encourage residents and businesses to continue recycling whenever and whatever is possible. Recycling is still the right thing to do – it saves energy, resources, and reduces greenhouse gases. Just keep these best practices in mind:

  • Ensure your recyclables are clean and dry. Food residue is a contaminant. Water gets paper wet and decreases its value. 
  • Pay attention to instructions from your local city, county, or recycling service. These instructions can change over time with changes in markets. 
  • When in doubt, throw it out. If an item is not clearly listed as an accepted material for collection, err on the side of throwing it away. Non-recyclable items decrease the effectiveness of the system and can reduce the value of other recyclable materials. 

Many materials are still being recycled. Aluminum cans, cardboard, plastic water and soda bottles and milk jugs (#1 and #2 bottles) are all in demand by domestic processors as recyclable commodities.

WSRA Member Responses:

Washington Refuse and Recycling Association (WRRA):

WRRA has been following the National Sword policy closely and has listed the following resources on their website.  

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (OR DEQ):





The Recycling Partnership:

News Sources: