Mountains Of Trash Piling Up On US Shores After China Stops Taking It

Mountains of trash have been collecting at US recycling facilities shores after China stopped accepting "contaminated" materials from facilities across the country.

Last year, China accounted for over half of the scrap metal purchases exported by the United States, while for decades they have been buying up US recycling by the ship-full after US sorting facilities bale up paper, cardboard or plastics to be crushed and transformed into raw materials for industrial purposes.

Since 1992, China and Hong Kong have taken in approximately 72% of global plastic waste according to a study in the journal Science Advances. Since January, however, Beijing stopped accepting most paper and plastic waste in accordance with new environmental policies.

What they do still accept - cardboard and metal, now has an extremely low contamination threshold of just 0.5% - a level far too low for current US recycling technology to handle. 

Making matters worse is that US waste handlers believe that China is on track to close its doors to all recycled materials by 2020, just 17 months from now - an impossibly short deadline. 

"There is no single and frankly, probably not even a group of countries, that can take in the volume that China used to take," warns Adina Renee Adler of the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. -Yahoo

Estimated displaced plastic waste by 2030. (Lindsay Robinson, University of Georgia)

Scrambling to find room

China's sudden policy shift has sent the US waste industry into a panic. In Elkridge, Maryland for example, a Waste Management facility now has a pile of effectively worthless mixed paper and plastics on their hands - while paying subcontractors to haul it away. 

Other US recycling plants are simply sending mixed recycling straight into landfills. 

"Nobody wants to say it out loud, because nobody likes the fact that they're having to do it," said Bill Caesar, CEO of Houston waste company WCA. 

Waste Management and Republic Services, another industry heavyweight, have admitted doing it under limited circumstances, while some small towns, particularly in Florida, have simply stopped collecting recyclable waste.

Other scrap importer countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam or India are incapable of absorbing the tens of millions of tons that China had previously taken.

And few American industries possess the ability to treat the waste. -Yahoo

"The biggest issue here is that China just gave very little time for the industry to transition," said Adler.

National Waste and Recycling Association president Darrell Smith added: "Eventually we will have such a large backup that more and more will have to start being diverted to landfills if we don’t find new markets and new uses for the recycled materials."

The trash crunch is compounded by the fact that many cities across the country are already pursuing ambitious recycling goals. Washington D.C., for example, wants to see 80% of household waste recycled, up from 23%. 

D.C. already pays $75 a ton for recycling vs. $46 for waste burned to generate electricity. 

"There was a time a few years ago when it was cheaper to recycle. It's just not the case anymore," said Christopher Shorter, director of public works for the city of Washington.

"It will be more and more expensive for us to recycle," he said.

Perhaps America can begin expanding into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, lashing together hundreds of square miles of floating garbage islands which would undoubtedly be considered prime real estate.


beemasters nmewn Fri, 07/13/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

"Perhaps America can begin expanding into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, lashing together hundreds of square miles of floating garbage islands which would undoubtedly be considered prime real estate."

Great idea. Epstein would definitely buy it, especially when it can be moved and untraceable.

In reply to by nmewn

Free This toady Fri, 07/13/2018 - 19:53 Permalink

Shoot it into space, why not? There has to be a way to recycle this waste, some fine inventor/entraprenuer will find a way.


You know, I've been out there and seen the garbage dump floating in the sea, a line of it, stretching as far as the eye can see. But the thing that struck me the most, was the ecosystem existing beneath it, breathtaking. There were so many fish, you could not count them all.

Watch this Hitlery2016 - we are coming for your BITCH, watch the fuck out!!

In reply to by toady

philipat bobcatz Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:40 Permalink

Oh NO, now he's talking to himself again:

powow, MoreSun, cheoll, wadalt, revolla, beepbop, pier, lloll, bobcatz, loebster, ergatz, armada, Mtnrunnr, Anonymous, luky luke, Cjgipper, winged, moimeme, macki mack, tchubby, sincerely_yours, HillaryOdor, winged, lexxus, kavlar, lhomme, letsit, tazs, techies-r-us, stizazz, lock-stock, beauticelli, Mano-A-Mano, mofio, santafe, Aristotle of Greece, Gargoyle, bleu, oops, lance-a-lot, Loftie, toro, Yippee Kiyay, lonnng, Nekoti, SumTing Wong, King Tut, Adullam, PrivetHedge, evoila, rp2016.

And at least 30-50 other suspected logins, slowly being “upgraded” to the list of infamy.

Must have stopped taking his meds again!!

In reply to by bobcatz

Mittens is a god Free This Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

Shouldn't you be out fighting Tyrannical government with your toy guns?  I know sucking cock is a full time job for you, but nobody here wants to here a lot of pussy boy excuses. Time to grind your hunting knife oh great homophobic angry white soldier. Get cracking, we are all looking for entertainment.

You should really learn to laugh at yourself asshole everybody else here does.


In reply to by Free This

Let it Go toady Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:23 Permalink

Well said! Part of the problem is that while there are many new and exciting ways to recycle and cut energy waste it seems public officials are almost afraid to talk about conservation. It is as if they will offend someone or that big business and their lobbyist have made this subject taboo.

The fact is a lot could be done at little cost. While it could be argued that cutting back on waste would lower the GDP it would have many positive benefits such as improving our standing in the world community. The article below delves deeper into the dreaded "C" word, conserve!

 http://Politicians Shy Away From Dreadful "C" Word - Conserve! html

In reply to by toady

SACRED-COW I am Groot Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:47 Permalink

"We should build the Wall out of it !"


That is a realistic, creative idea. 

Start at the Mexican, U.S. border.

Bundle, soak and stack.

Soak each bundle in concrete syrup.

Stack them 1000 feet into the air.

Create one 2000 mile long row after another.

With all of the waste we created, we should be able to reach Canada within 50 years.

Rebuild the entire country at the new altitude.  No more worries about costal flooding!

Future generations will think of them as the pyramids of the 21st century.


In reply to by I am Groot