The World Is Drowning in Rubbish: World Today

China once accepted half the world’s plastic trash, and recycled much of that. Increased waste and sloppy cleaning encouraged China and other Asian nations to reject massive shipments from wealthy nations. “Until recently, these countries had been guilty of ‘distancing’, the practice of shifting waste ‘out of sight, out of mind’, both literally and in people’s imaginations,” explains Kate O’Neill for the World Today, published by Chatham House. “The fact that decisions made in Beijing can now shape what families thousands of miles away put out on the kerb for collection each week illustrates the impact of globalization. It also highlights the challenges of creating circular economies if markets for scrap can collapse so easily.” Many recycling companies refuse many plastics – including bags, polystyrene or building materials like PVC pipes – and others refuse glass. Communities can no longer simply dispose of their trash in oceans and other countries – or with incineration and cross-border emissions. Instead, communities must consider how to reduce trash and organize sustainable circular economies, argues O’Neill. The European Union and California lead in developing such economies. Encouraging international awareness and motivation to reduce or even eliminate plastic and other trash could counter challenges in policing. – YaleGlobal

The World Is Drowning in Rubbish: World Today

The world has a trash crisis as China ends scrap imports, and global action is required: conservation, less packaging, thoughtful purchases, reuse, recycling
Kate O’Neill
Thursday, December 5, 2019

Read the article from The World Today published by Chatham House about the global trash crisis.

Kate O’Neill is a professor at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Waste (Polity).

World's Biggest Exporters of Plastic Waste, 2018	 Japan	925953 US	811420 Germany	701539 Belgium	415792 France	404019 UK	313080 Mexico	308982 Hong Kong	267188

Unwanted:  Countries struggle to handle growing piles of plastic waste (Source: Data, Statista; photo, Deccan Herald)

© Chatham House 2019

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