Pictures of trash on beaches, a whale found with a belly full of garbage, and turtles with plastic straws up their nose are no laughing matter. They are all just a tiny snapshot of reality today.
The impact of the world’s overuse of plastic is causing havoc on the environment.
For over 20 years, China was the recipient of millions of tons of paper and plastics per year from the U.S. and it was a profitable business for many local cities with recycling programs. In 2017, China made the decision to ban imported nonindustrial plastic waste, and the country also added more restrictions for imported paper waste. Stateside, many cities are no longer making a profit and recyclables are now a drain on budgets, and in some cases, costing as much as they previously earned.
Recycling facilities cannot handle all the trash and millions of Americans are not following proper recycling protocol. Republic Services, a local waste collector said, “We collect the items in the curbside recycling container. Once those items arrive to the recycling facility, they are sorted or processed. If the items are not recyclable, items such as garden hoses, dirty diapers, plastic grocery bags, etc. – these items are trash and they will go to the landfill. They cannot be recycled. It is important that residents who participate in the recycling program put only items that can be recycled (cardboard, newspapers, soda cans, etc.) into their recycling container.”
By Sonia Duggan • [email protected]