Clamshell packaging curbside recycling ends in Anchorage

#1 Clamshell plastics like this blueberry container are no longer accepted in Anchorage curbside recycling. (Photo by Abbey Collins/Alaska Public Media)

The plastic containers commonly used to package fruits and leafy greens can no longer be recycled in Anchorage

The city announced Thursday that #1 plastic clamshells are no longer acceptable in curbside recycling.

Suzanna Caldwell is the Recycling Coordinator with Solid Waste Services. She says, the new rule is a result of changes in global recycling markets.

In recent years, China changed its rules for recycling imports.

“When that happened, which, #1 plastics are the lowest grade plastic that we accept, they started to not have any market for manufacturing,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell says she hoped a new market would emerge, but that hasn’t happened.

Now, she says the best way to keep those containers out of the trash is to stop buying them.

“That’s really the biggest thing we can do when we talk about waste reduction is just refusing things at the source,” Caldwell said.

If they are purchased, Caldwell hopes residents will consider different ways to reuse the plastic.

Clamshells are also not accepted at recycling drop off sites.