Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling | The New York Times

by Faiz Ahmed last modified 2018-01-12T13:06:52-04:00
"China had been processing at least half of the world’s exports of waste paper, metals and used plastic — 7.3 million tons in 2016, according to recent industry data. Last July, China notified the World Trade Organization that it intended to ban some imports of trash, saying the action was needed to protect the environment and improve public health. ... Chinese officials also complained that much of the recyclable material the country received from overseas had not been properly cleaned or was mixed with non-recyclable materials. ... In Halifax, Nova Scotia, which sent 80 percent of its recycling to China, Matthew Keliher, the city’s manager of solid waste, said he had largely found alternatives to accept plastic, except for the low-grade plastic film that is used to make shopping bags and for wrapping. Stockpiles of those plastics have so exceeded the city’s storage capacity that Halifax had to get special permission to bury about 300 metric tons of the material in a landfill. In Calgary, Alberta, which sent 50 percent of its plastics and 100 percent of its mixed papers to China, the material has been stockpiled in empty storage sheds, shipping containers, trailers and warehouses since last fall. So far, 5,000 tons has been collected, Sharon Howland, the city’s lead manager of waste and recycling services, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation."
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