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A pile of debris including all kinds of plastics grows hourly at Omni Recycling, a materials recovery facility in Pitman, N.J. Plastic bags are especially problematic because they can get caught in the conveyor belts and equipment and gum up the recycling process. Rebecca Davis/NPR hide caption

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Rebecca Davis/NPR

More U.S. Towns Are Feeling The Pinch As Recycling Becomes Costlier

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Trash sent for recycling moves along a conveyor belt to be sorted at Waste Management's material recovery facility in Elkridge, Md. In 2018, China announced it would no longer buy most plastic waste from places like the United States. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Recycling Industry Is Struggling To Figure Out A Future Without China

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Man's Recycling Mistake Nearly Gave New Meaning To 'Going Green'

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A discarded plastic bottle lies on the beach at Sandy Hook, N.J. Packaging is the largest source of the plastic waste that now blankets our planet. Wayne Parry/AP hide caption

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Wayne Parry/AP

Plastics Or People? At Least 1 Of Them Has To Change To Clean Up Our Mess

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The U.S. used to ship about 7 million tons of plastic trash to China a year, where much of it was recycled into raw materials. Then came the Chinese crackdown of 2018. Olivia Sun/NPR hide caption

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Olivia Sun/NPR

Where Will Your Plastic Trash Go Now That China Doesn't Want It?

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A row of new reverse vending machines, which collect drink containers for recycling, greets customers at the grand opening of the BottleDrop Redemption Center in Medford, Ore. Jes Burns/Oregon Public Broadcasting hide caption

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Jes Burns/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Because of layers of material that can be difficult to separate, many containers for juices and broths have traditionally been destined for landfills. But recycling them is getting easier. KidStock/Getty Images hide caption

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KidStock/Getty Images

A grande Cafe Nero, large Costa Coffee and venti-sized Starbucks to-go cups sold in London. The U.K. Parliament is considering a tax on disposable cups in an effort to cut down on waste. Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images hide caption

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Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Piles of plastic waste are pictured on the seaside in the coastal town of Khalde, south of the Lebanese capital Beirut, on September 22, 2016. Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Plastic Is Everywhere And Recycling Isn't The End Of It

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Workers pull out plastic and trash from a conveyor belt of paper at a recycling plant in Elkridge, Md. The plant processes 1,000 tons of recyclable materials every day. Dianna Douglas/NPR hide caption

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Dianna Douglas/NPR

Reduce, Reuse, Remove The Cellophane: Recycling Demystified

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At Resource Management's materials recovery facility, workers pull plastic bags, other trash and large pieces of cardboard off the conveyor belts before the mixed single-stream recyclables enter the sorting machines. Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio hide caption

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Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio

With 'Single-Stream' Recycling, Convenience Comes At A Cost

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A fisherman collects water on a beach littered with trash at an ecological reserve south of Manila in 2013. Francis R. Malasig/EPA/Landov hide caption

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Francis R. Malasig/EPA/Landov

8 Million Tons Of Plastic Clutter Our Seas

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