When most of us think about recycling, we don’t typically think beyond the bin we put out items in. We did our job separating out the plastic and paper, and we just assume that it will get remade by the time it reaches the end of the chain. However, as SF Gate has made clear with their recent reporting, recycling is actually a global environment. And if one part of that environment changes, then it affects everything.
What China’s Bans Are Already Doing To Recycling Efforts
In the past, a large portion of the recyclable materials tossed into bins was exported to China. Because while the supply of recyclable rubbish items is high, there has to be a demand for them in order to keep the process going. Recently that demand went away for mixed plastics, and other items, as China is no longer accepting those imports. And that means items that would previously have been a-okay to recycle are now going to wind up in landfills if the local government doesn’t find a new market for the product.
While this isn’t a problem that has affected all countries universally, its affects have reached many places. Given the sheer amount of plastic and other recyclables that are already clogging up our landfills, the sudden drop in demand from such a big buyer could have serious consequences across the board. And though it’s still relatively early since this decision has been made, there are questions that a lot of people are asking.
Will anyone else take this material? And if they don’t, does that mean we can no longer recycle it at all? And if that’s the case, then should we start looking for alternative materials when it comes to our consumer needs?
We don’t have answers to these questions yet… but we might need them if the demand for certain materials no longer uses up our supply.