When plastic was invented then it was considered a bane as it reduced costs and was used in almost everything. But later on, when the problems arose when we came to know that it can devastate our world as this is so hard to destroy it without polluting the environment. Recycling and reusing were the two saviours which come up to save us but they are also not possible now for the developed countries as many developing countries have denied to take the plastics which they reused and recycled in their plants.
China who was the biggest hub for recycling the plastic has stopped accepting the recycling imports from other countries. This worsened the situation and the waste companies are now disposing of the plastic waste by dumping them in landfills as they are not able to export the scraps to China. India has also announced that they are not going to accept the plastic imports from now onwards as they are trying to reduce pollution. However, the ban is not applicable now but will come into effect from August. This is posing a serious problem.
Now the recycling price in America is increasing. 34% of the waste was recycled in 2015. Kate Bailey who is the policy and research director at Ecocycle said, “As of 2015, 34 per cent of waste was recycled, though since the start of single-stream recycling—the use of catch-all bins for paper, plastic, and aluminum—we’ve gotten worse at recycling.”
“When we collect the material, it has as much as 25 per cent contamination, but by the time we sell it needs to have less than one per cent,” says Susan Robinson, senior director of sustainability and policy for Waste Management, which operates 100 recycling sorting facilities in North America. The company sells its materials to domestic recycling plants, so its operations have remained mostly unchanged. But, says Robinson, “[contamination] increases our costs, it causes safety problems, and it increases the environmental burden.”
Problem is not that other countries are not accepting our recyclable but the actual problem is that U.S. recyclables are so hazardous and contaminated. “A lot of people want so badly for things to be recycled,” she adds. “We call that wish cycling—it’s one of the biggest problems we have right now.”
“Three times a day, we stop the plant and somebody climbs up onto the equipment with a box knife and cuts the plastic bags off of the pipes,” says Kate Bailey, “We have several people pulling them out before they even get to the equipment, and then we still have this many bags getting caught.”