The article in the Wall Street Journal of the United States on December 26, the original title: China's rejection of foreign waste has caused a huge change in the way waste is treated worldwide. For decades, the United States and many developed countries have thrown used plastic bottles and soda bottles into trash cans. Most of this waste was then shipped to China, thousands of miles away, where it was sorted and converted into new products. But after Beijing decided to ban the influx of harmful foreign waste, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, which are keen to export waste in the West, have also implemented waste import restrictions. Related actions have triggered a drastic change in the way waste is handled globally.
Some countries have long been used to transporting garbage to poorer countries for sorting and disposal. Now, they have to invest in domestic waste treatment and seek alternative methods, such as incineration and promotion of waste sorting education to the public. Some simply cancel garbage collection.
(Western) many cities and towns are looking for new buyers for their trash. But there is a big problem: many places often throw various garbage into the same bin, and they have to be laborious to sort. Many waste papers are too wet, and the plastic is contaminated with food or grease and cannot be recycled at all. China once accepted dirty and messy garbage because of low-wage workers' manual sorting.
Japan has historically exported most of its plastic waste to China. After China imposed a ban and Thailand and Vietnam also started rejecting garbage, Japanese garbage collectors started to accumulate garbage, hoping that new markets would emerge in the future. Since last year, Japan has accumulated 500,000 tons of plastic waste.
More waste is being burned in the UK, with incineration and recycling rates currently accounting for roughly 42% each. "We are quickly in a crisis: there is no market capacity for digestible recycled materials on the one hand, and prices have plummeted," said Simon Eileen, CEO of the British Recycling Association. The official said: "China's ban prevents us from exporting our problems abroad."
This summer, Philadelphia advertised at bus stops and radio stations, asking people to "put a minute in front of the trash, and don't throw it if in doubt." The city also sent staff from house to house to tell residents what to throw into recyclable bins.
Garage contractors in Flagstaff, Arizona, no longer accept five types of plastic, including yogurt cans and clamshell food containers. Today, most of this material is sent to landfills. Local authorities have announced that they will begin inspecting residents' recyclable bins. The pilot project showed that this reduced the amount of non-recyclables in recyclable bins by 40%.
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