Until recently, most plastics recycled in the United States were sent to China. But as of January 2018, China began enforcing its "National Sword" policy, which bans 24 types of solid waste, including mixed plastics and mixed papers. It also sets a much tougher standard for contamination levels for the materials China does still accept. This has left communities across the United States in a bind, as the market for certain recyclables has been constricted considerably. Unfortunately, that's meant more plastics - including some that were once recyclable - must go in the trash.
It's also meant that recycling facilities - including those that process recyclables from Cuyahoga County - are cracking down on contamination. Communities throughout the County, including Shaker Heights, must lower contamination levels or risk fines and/or their recyclables being sent to the landfill.
This article helps explain the current crisis.