Oliver Milman reported for The Guardian that US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports.
Until recently, China had been taking about 40% of US paper, plastics and other recyclables but this trans-Pacific waste route has now ground to a halt. In July 2017, China told the World Trade Organization it no longer wanted to be the end point for yang laji, or foreign garbage, with the country keen to grapple with its own mountains of waste.
Recycling isn’t always the answer. There’s reducing and reusing too.
“The unfortunate thing in the United States is that when people recycle they think it’s taken care of, when it was largely taken care of by China,” said Gilman. “When that stopped, it became clear we just aren’t able to deal with it.”
There needs to be an increased awareness of what happens when we recycle. Instead of just thinking we are doing the right thing by recycling, think further down the process. This shouldn’t be something that’s out of sight, out of mind.