If you recycle plastic in Anchorage, you should be aware of a new restriction that goes into effect immediately: #1 PETE plastic clamshells can’t be recycled at any commingled curbside spot. The clear plastic clamshells tend to be used for fruit and vegetable packing.

A statement from the city’s Solid Waste Services department says the change is due to China’s ban on importing plastic materials to be recycled.

“We regret having to eliminate a material from curbside recycling,” said Suzanna Caldwell, recycling coordinator for SWS. “This was a difficult decision, but one that will make our recycling system more efficient.”

The plastic clamshells, which Anchorage began accepting in 2017, make up less than 1% of what gets collected, according to the statement.

SWS says Anchorage collects about 500 tons of curbside recycling each month. It gets shipped to the Lower 48 where it's sorted and then used to make various products.

The new restriction applies to all recycling providers in Anchorage.

Curbside collection spots will still accept all other recyclables, including #1 plastic bottles, #2 plastic jugs, aluminum cans, steel cans, mixed paper, newspaper and cardboard.

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