(KMOV.com) - Recycling is almost second nature to kids these days.

But some local cities are suddenly find themselves scrambling for recycling solution.

One of only two area recycling centers shuts down Wednesday and it’s causing what some experts are calling a panic in the recycling industry.

Starting Monday, it's gotten harder to recycle in O’Fallon Missouri.

“We are changing it because we have to, not because we wanted to,” said Tom Drabel with the City of O’Fallon.

City leaders, like those in O'Fallon, faced a problem.

“Our local partner announced they were leaving St. Louis as a market,” said Drabel.

Resource Management, one of only two major recycling centers in the region, is shutting down its St. Louis operations.

Experts say the reason is that the recycling business just isn't what it used to be.

“We are seeing a depression of price and a loss of capacity in the St. Louis area,” said Brett Batliner.

Brett Batliner's the general manager at the other major recycler, Republic Services.

He gave News 4 an inside look at exactly the issue.

In order to be recycled into something else, your items get picked up curbside. Then they're taken to a facility to be sorted and eventually sold. Massive machines do most of it, but people, too, try to sort everything out.

The process, though, is far from perfect. Plastic, for example, often ends up in the big bales of paper and then the process can get messy.

China, the main market for recycling, used to accept paper for recycling with more plastic in it. They’ve cracked down, wanting only very clean, non-contaminated bales, something that has tanked the recycling market.

Batliner says his company is now losing money on recycling.

Without more recycle sorting facilities in the area, cities like O’Fallon, Lake St. Louis, Wentzville, and Kirkwood were left looking for alternatives.

Some are left wondering if they'll get rid of recycling all together.

“There are communities that are facing that, that is not what we want to see happen here,” said Drabel.

Instead, O’Fallon announced they'll no longer collect cardboard or paper curbside, you're responsible for bringing it to them instead

The city's new advice is when in doubt, throw it out.

Some experts say we need to focus on the other two of the three R’s, reducing and reusing.

There’s no change to recycling services for unincorporated St. Louis County.

In Lake St. Louis, they will soon no longer accept paper, cardboard, or glass in your curb pickup carts.

In Wentzville, their recycling will be headed to Kansas City, but may be making additional changes in December.

Check with your local municipality if you have any questions about the recycling services where you live.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

News 4 Investigates

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