San Jose Proposes Building Dirty Plastics Recycling Plant

Mike Colgan
February 26, 2020 - 11:58 am
Used plastic bottles for recycling.

Most plastic can’t be recycled, because of food, garbage or other waste still on the container. However, some San Jose city councilmembers are now lobbying to build a plant that can handle those dirty plastics.

“These are not currently recyclable, in our current waste stream,” said Councilman Johnny Khamis. “And this is the type of dirty materials that this plant will be recycling.”

According to Joel Corona, vice president of business development at California Waste Solutions, only 1% of plastic, which is clean, is currently recycled. 

Corona said the types of residue that make the containers unrecyclable includes food waste, motor oil, paint, chemicals and pesticides, among other contaminants.  

“The challenge has been the amount of contamination of this plastic,” said Corona. “Secondly, has been the increasing different types of plastic that have become popular in use by manufacturers.” 

The current proposed location is near the Zanker Road landfill, although the idea is in early stages. 

Currently, the only plant that can recycle dirty plastics is located in Ohio.