Recology employee Zakarya Sales works at the final quality control station, removing any visibly obvious contaminants from sorted bales, at the Recology Materials Recovery Facility on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, on S. Idaho St., in Seattle. 
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Recology employee Zakarya Sales works at the final quality control station, removing any visibly obvious contaminants from sorted bales, at the Recology Materials Recovery Facility on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, on S. Idaho St., in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle: You need to clean up your recycling act

Have you wondered where your recycling goes once it's picked up? A KUOW listener was curious about that, so we asked Hans Van Dusen, the solid waste contracts manager at Seattle Public Utilities.

He tells Kim Malcolm about the journey our cans and paper takes.

Van Dusen also breaks down the top mistakes Seattle residents make when it comes to what goes in those big blue bins, which is a problem because recycling companies can no longer ship materials to our largest market — China.

In January, the Chinese government banned some recyclables and increased their quality standards. Our region doesn't meet those new standards.

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And if you want to see how it all happens, here's a video from Seattle Public Utilities showing the recycling process:

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