Skip to comments.Trash piles up in US as China closes door to recycling
Posted on 07/12/2018 8:59:18 AM PDT by yoe
For months, a major recycling facility for the greater Baltimore-Washington area has been facing a big problem: it has to pay to get rid of huge amounts of paper and plastic it would normally sell to China.
Beijing is no longer buying, claiming the recycled materials are "contaminated."
For sure, the 900 tons of trash dumped at all hours of the day and night, five days a week, on the conveyor belts at the plant in Elkridge, Maryland -- an hour's drive from the US capital -- are not clean.
[snip]But since January, China has closed its borders to most paper and plastic waste in line with a new environmental policy pushed by Beijing, which no longer wants to be the world's trash can, or even its recycle bin.
(Excerpt) Read more at afp.com ...
Packaging both for marketing and to deter shoplifting is an enormous waste in America. Meanwhile the trash piles up & up & up & up......
China never did any “recycling.”
They accepted payment, loaded it onto cargo ships, and dumped it into the ocean.
It’s not that hard to connect the dots.
Burn it in Brooklyn, and bury the ash in an Islip Town landfill.
Soon China will burn the paper, cardboard and plastic for fuel to generate electricity.
China Throws the Recycling Scam into the Trash:
The huge dirty secret of recycling was also one of the worlds worst polluters.
Every branch of government from Washington D.C. to your local town council had spent a fortune convincing people that recycling is a magical process that turns your old pizza boxes into new pizza boxes while creating those imaginary green jobs in the community. The reality was a lot dirtier.
All of Americas industries, including trash sorting, had been outsourced to China.
And recycling is just a fancy lefty way of saying “trash.” All that recycling, which children in progressive communities are taught to sort as the closest thing to a religious ritual, was really being dumped by the ton on dirty ships and sent over to China. We werent recycling it. The Chinese were.
But now China is banning foreign recycling because its bad for the environment.
Even the Communists got tired of sorting through the trash of American socialists. The recycling scam shipped garbage on dirty ships for dirty industries while pretending that theyre clean and green.
There was never anything clean about it. And only the money it brought in was green.
Now the recycling partys over. Plastic recycling imports were banned early this year. Even fiber has trouble getting in to the Peoples Republic. Chinas mixed paper standards mean that most of the recycled cardboard and paper no longer passes muster. Instead its piling up in the United States.
The recycling scam used to be an easy trade. China shipped its cheap products made from recycled American junk and scrap here. The empty vessels used to dump Chinese junk products on America were then filled up with tons of recycling for the return trip back to China at minimal cost.
We sent them junk, they sent us junk. As the trade deficit grew, recycling was one of its many parasites.
But China is out of the recycling dump business. And the recycling business depended on it. No other market pays what it did. And no other country has the industrial scale to handle this much recycled trash. The American market is flooded with recycling that no one wants and trash prices have imploded.
And thats having an immediate impact on the progressive recycling programs in the United States.
Californias trash is going right back to landfills. 62% of exported materials used to go to China. But no more. Californias Department of Resources Recycling sent a letter cautioning that the economics of recycling had become unfavorable thus challenging what recycling means to Californians.
It also warned recycling facilities that, public health and safety should be their number one priority.
In Massachusetts, mountains of trash recycling are piling up and theres talk that trucks may stop picking it up. In Pennsylvania, a “recycling crisis created by China” was blamed for a refusal to accept paper. In Seattle and Phoenix, recycling is going into landfills. Fees are going up in Portland. In Pasco, recycling was abandoned before its start. In a Kansas City plant, one out of four items is going into a landfill. In Sacramento, where all of Californias recycling rules are made, most recyclables no longer are.
Fort Worths recycling brought in nearly a million last year. Now, its expected to cost $1.6 million.
Recology used to be the epitome of the reinvented garbage hauler, merging San Francisco urban politics with progressive PR about ending waste. But zero landfill talk has given way to a blunter reality, Theres no market for a lot of stuff in the blue bin. What we cant recycle we take to a landfill.
Environmental regulations had already turned garbage collection in California into an expensive disaster, but this is an entirely unprecedented mess complete with mountains of trash and mountains of bills.
Recycling has become economically unsustainable, but that doesnt mean its going away.
Theres too much money in environmental scams. And recycling is the biggest of them. The China crisis is being met with the three Rs of progressive policymaking; rent-seeking, regulations and robbery.
Some homeowners are already seeing higher trash collection fees. Those will only get worse. Especially on the West Coast where the China option helped dull the painful costs of recycling. But the costs will hit everyone as politicians resort to mandating higher levels of recycled content in everyday products.
Want to sell soda, tissues or milk? Pay the politically connected recycling companies for the privilege of using their trash. As recycling costs go up, content mandates will force companies to create an artificial market. And the costs will be passed along to consumers who will have to pay more for everything.
Like higher trash fees, tightened recycling regulations have also only begun to arrive. If you live in a blue state or city, expect to spend a lot more time sorting your trash, cleaning your cans and removing plastic from your envelopes so that they meet Chinas new high standards for imported trash.
China will no longer be sorting American trash. So progressives have decided that you will.
We hear about the jobs that Americans wont do. But this is a job that the Chinese wont do. And that Americans will be forced to do for free. As China becomes more capitalist, America turns Communist.
Or as a video on the Recology site prompts, How to be a better recycle because China demands it.
Environmentalist municipalities have already begun rolling out condescending campaigns berating homeowners for their foolish and lazy recycling practices. Wishcycling is a charmless portmanteau you will see more of. But what it really means is that homeowners who are already being taxed to death are being hectored by the environmental activists they subsidize who have never worked a day in their lives.
Will all of that save the recycling scam?
No, but it wont matter. Most homeowners have no idea how much of their recyclables go into landfills anyway. The dirty business of municipal waste contracts will continue on uninterrupted. The extra fees and costs will be another one of the lefts thousand cuts that are bleeding the middle class to death.
Homeowners will be taxed harder so that crony cash can flow to even bigger recycling operations. You will pay more for everything you buy to subsidize politically connected, but uneconomical enterprises.
Recycling is not a reality, but an idea. Like Communism, it can never be achieved, but must be aspired to.
Smaller towns and cities will be forced to dump their recycling programs. And more conservative areas will be dissuaded from getting on board as the profit margins from recycling turn into pools of red ink. But blue states and cities will never abandon recycling. And if Washington D.C. goes blue again, the dictates of crony socialism and green fanaticism will roll out new compulsory standards nationwide.
Recycling is in crisis. But the environmental scam is too big to fail.
The ships carrying most of the blue state and city green trash will no longer be allowed into China. But there are other countries and continents desperate enough to take their socialist trash.
The dirty secret of recycling is that it depended on the willingness of Third World countries to greenwash our trash so that progressives could pretend that their moral garbage was saving the planet.
The smaller countries of Southeast Asia dont have the capacity to take up Chinas slack, but the Peoples Republic has progressively been colonizing Africa. Some African countries were already being used to recycle and dump e-waste. The shipping wont be as cheap, but recyclings next stop is likely to be Africa where environmentalists will turn it into a trash heap to protect the environment.
I believe you are correct.
Many cities have been hauling recyclables to the dump for years. With all the regulations placed on recycling materials it’s just cheaper to dump them.
I just burn my paper and plastic.
You got it. They’ve been doing that for years.
All the greenies and their recycling teddy bear - “Don’t you recycle? How come you don’t recycle? You’re supposed to recycle!”
Can’t wait to see how the Watermelons deal with this (green on the outside, red on the inside).
Good thing Starbucks eliminated plastic straws, then..............
We have plenty of paper machines here in the U.S. to repurpose used container board and mixed use.
Its just not economical.
Can an “Idiocracy” landslide be far behind?
It sure seems like that’s exactly what was going on.
We just had a local news story last month or so where the residents of a certain county are required to clean and separate their trash into paper, plastic, glass and household waste, in separate garbage cans.
BUT the separated and cleaned ‘recyclables’ are then taken to a landfill and buried like all the other trash because they have no buyer for the stuff.....................
How much of that is from cheaply made plastic items such as appliance parts made to break after limited usage and ink cartridges that can’t be refilled? How much of that is water bottles and Keurig coffee things and training diapers for kids way too old?
There used to be a recycling center 30 miles away but people got tired of driving to it and it wasn’t that profitable so it shut down about 20 years ago. Same with the aluminum can place which cost more in gas to drive to it than what you’d get with a pick up bed full of cans.
We used to not have garbage service so made sure to not buy wasteful items and reuse/repurpose things. Kitchen scraps and paper went into the composter. Never understood why people bag their grass clippings since it provides natural fertilizer. Sadly, these days we pay over $60/mo for them to (maybe, if they feel like it) pick up our one bag of garbage a week. We let the elderly neighbor use our garbage can for free and she somehow has more garbage than we do (probably all her TIME magazines).
Best free garden soil ever!
The ConAgra butterball plant was set to convert 200tons of turkey waste into 500 barrels of #2 diesel fuel. The feedstock recovery rates show this to be a hugely efficient process that involves little more than heat, water, and pressure!
Recycling is a joke. Aluminum is the only stream that has merit. The rest needs federal funding to maintain processes. Every municipality that has trash issues should be clamoring for scalable TDP operations in areas where noise and smell can be abated.
real recycling is getting more use from a thing than it was originally designed or made for, increasing its economy.
TDP plants on a pair of flatbed semi trailers could go from landfill to landfill mining the wealth there.
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