The Chinese government recently banned imports of low-grade recyclables.
For decades, Western countries sent their paper waste and plastic trash to China where they were sorted manually before being processed and re-used in manufacturing. To overcome the severe shortage of recyclables caused by the ban, Chinese manufacturers are now setting up processing facilities in the US and sending the recyclable materials to China.
Some existing US recycling programs have struggled to meet the purity standards imposed by the Chinese government.
Video Spotlight: Plastic China (scroll down to the trailer)
This post is based on the Bloomberg article, China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash, by M. Sasso, August 22, 2018. Image sources: frameangel/123RF and Ralph125/Getty Images.
1. According to the article, why has the Chinese government banned imports of “dirty” trash?
Guidance: Trash sent to China contained contaminants which can be hazardous (e.g. lead and mercury) and also hinder the recycling process. Other reasons include China’s anti-pollution crackdown and the 2017 release of the documentary “Plastic China,” which featured Chinese children sorting trash in piles of garbage imported from other countries. The documentary put pressure on China to stop such practices and therefore Continue reading