U.S. recycling goes haywire with China’s import ban

Feb 28, 2019, 7:35 AM EST
(Source: Tony Webster/flickr)
(Source: Tony Webster/flickr)

In December 2017, China introduced a slew of restrictions on the import of recyclables in the bid to rein in pollution and improve its air quality. Such a move by the world’s biggest importer of recyclable waste has crippled the recycling industries in the seller countries, including the U.S., where cities are forced to haul the glut to incineration facilities.

Covanta incinerator in Chester City, Pennsylvania, is burning up nearly 200 tons of recycling material, including plastics, paper and glass, every day, a sight common in many other cities across America as authorities struggle to deal with the loss of a foreign dumping ground, writes The Guardian.

The toxic plumes of smoke could fill the air with a new fog of dioxins driving air pollution to alarming levels and threatening the health of communities settled in proximity to heavy industry and dumping sites in the U.S.

The ban hasn’t played out well for Southeast Asia either, giving rise to a waste crisis in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia – the countries that came forward to plug the gap left by China but found themselves drowning in bales of trash, reports National Geographic.