Framingham Recycles: Not Everything With A Recycling Symbol Can Be Recycles

By Stephen Saranosky

FRAMINGHAM – Today the recycling industry continues to face dramatic changes from China.

A policy, known as the National Sword, is China’s way of forcing international exporters to change its recycling practices.

Since 2017, China has reduced its contamination level acceptance from non-
existent to less than 1 percent.

Today, material handling processors have doubled their rates to process recyclable materials.

Some processors will even charge an additional contamination fee if the recycling materials they receive are determined to contain too much refuse in it.

As a result, some communities have either abandoned their recycling programs altogether or have had to find ways to pay for the increases.

Even so, recycling programs should always be a good thing, and your involvement is important to its success.

The City of Framingham continues to mitigate recycling contamination issues through education and outreach initiatives such as annual mailings, social media presence and a dedicated recycling website.

As a city, we can help reduce contamination costs by carefully recycling.

Stick to the recycling basics and recycle the following items: clean cardboard and paper, glass, aluminum, and metal food containers, and of course, household plastics such as milk jugs, personal care items, and water bottles, etc.

B.J. Harvey, President of Harvey’s Waste Management, said, “not everything with a recycling symbol can be recycled. There will always be levels of contamination in recycling.”

When in doubt about what to recycle, please visit Framingham DPW’s Sanitation Division website and look for the Waste Wizard search tool. The Wizard will guide you on how to recycle properly in the City of Framingham.

Recycling Q&A

I was asked a very common recycling and that is: “Are the padded envelopes with bubble wrap inside recyclable?”

Although the paper envelop is recyclable the bubble wrap is not. The wrap is not easily separated so this item is considered refuse.

Thank you for your question.


Editor’s Note: This is a weekly column by the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Framingham. Residents can submit questions to Recycling Coordinator Stephen Sarnosky via SOURCE at

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: Phone: 508-315-7176

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