A Scan of Critical World Developments
The Waste Stream Comes Home
8 million tons of the world’s discarded mixed paper and another 8 million tons of discarded plastics each year. Strikingly, 87% of the EU’s recycled plastic is exported directly or indirectly to China, and almost 4,000 shipping containers of recyclables leave the US for China each day. Going forward, this waste will either pile up, go to landfills, or pollute some other country. That is, unless countries take action to reduce the waste stream at its source by imposing stricter regulations on product design and packaging practices. Exporting environmental problems has been all too easy, but it’s a dead-end strategy. We need to reduce pollution, not just move it around.