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AVALON – At Avalon Borough Council’s Aug. 25 meeting, Administrator Scott Wahl told the governing body that, once again, in 2022, the agreement with the MUA would be for a one-year term.

The good news was that there would be no change to fees or services. The bad news is that 2023 and the future years remain open, with no certain ability of the municipalities to secure future costs or changes to the recycling program.

Up until 2018, it was common practice for municipalities in the county to arrange multi-year solid waste management contracts with the county Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA). China then announced that it would impose a ban on certain kinds of solid waste, and everything changed.

China, for years, processed half or more of the world’s exports of wastepaper, used plastic and other material the U.S. termed recyclables. What made them recyclables is that many of the world’s industrial nations had a place to send them. The western countries were left looking for new markets for their waste products or new technologies for actually recycling certain materials at home, without export.

In 2019, the MUA began offering shared service agreements for only one year because the volatile market prevented longer-term projections of costs and handling options. That practice has continued.

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