Recent Chinese importation bans on two dozen types of “foreign waste” and strict standards on recyclable materials have created a crisis in the U.S.
Recyclable materials that once went to recycling facilities in China to be repurposed are now going to waste-to-energy incinerators in the U.S., where they are being burned alongside garbage.
Mixed paper and plastic exports to China dropped more than 90 percent from January 2017 to January 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Prices for exporting recyclables skyrocketed and the industry scrambled to find a solution.
Chinese importation bans led to responses like incinerating recyclables for energy, but recycling companies are looking for a better solution.
Read more about how the recycling industry is responding to Chinese bans on the importation of some recyclables at Earther.