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Important information about waste, recycling and sustainable materials management from around the world.

 

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More and More, America’s Recyclable Plastic Is Being Burned, Not Recycled

March 12, 2019 By Matt Hickman, MNN

Incineration is a stopgap solution after Chinese ban on foreign waste.

Americans dutifully separate, sort and haul recyclables to the curb under the assumption that our bottles, cans and accumulated junk mail will avoid being landfilled and instead go somewhere to become something new.

 

And that somewhere has primarily been China, which has long accepted recyclables plastics being the most prized from the United States and other countries with enthusiastically open arms.

 

For decades, China couldn’t get enough of our precious plastic trash, which was transformed into new consumer products and packaging and sent back our way. In 2016 alone, Chinese manufacturers imported a staggering 7.3 million metric tons of recovered plastic from the U.S. and other waste-exporting nations. In total, roughly 70 percent of all plastic collected for recycling in the U.S. was once shipped to China for processing.

 

This all changed at the beginning of 2018 when the Chinese government implemented National Sword, a globally disruptive policy that’s seen the once-steady flow of recyclable waste into the country slow to a mere trickle if even that as China’s plastic imports have fallen by an astounding 99 percent.

 

The full text of the article can be found at Mother Nature Network.

 

What happens to recycling after it leaves our homes?

March 11, 2019, by , Arizona Republic

Tammy Gabel is about as passionate about recycling as is possible.

 

“When I first moved to Arizona – I grew up in California – I moved to Yuma, and you couldn’t recycle in Yuma at that time, and so I would take like bags full of bottles to my dad to recycle in California.”

 

Despite being so dedicated to the cause, Gabel said there is a lot she still doesn’t know about recycling.

 

Listen to the podcast at AZCentral.com

 

Recycling Can’t Fix What Really Ails Us

March 9, 2019, by YVONNE ABRAHAM, The Boston Globe

Recycling can’t fix what really ails us.

 

Filling those blue bins is a comfort for those of us who panic at rising seas and dying reefs. We can’t control the head-in-the-tar-sanders determined to fry us, but at least we’re doing our part to keep reusable trash out of landfills and plastic ocean gyres.

 

Full text of the article may be found in The Boston Globe

 

Is This the End of Recycling?

Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.  

March 5, 2019,  

After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover that you haven’t recycled appropriately.

But now much of that carefully sorted recycling is ending up in the trash.

 

Full text of the article may be found in The Atlantic.