Recycling in the United States is piling up at an alarming speed and no one knows where to put it. Up until recently, that was China's problem.
For years, the US offloaded nearly 4, shipping containers full of recyclables on China's shoulders every day. In a recent push to fight local pollution, the Chinese government has enforced a new policy that bans the import of 24 types of solid waste, including most forms of paper and plastic.
The changes came into effect at the start of this year, and ever since, recycling businesses in the US have been scrambling. Each year, the US recycles roughly 66 millions tons of materialand about a third of that is ultimately sold overseas, mostly to China. Last year, for instance, China bought up more than half of the scrap materials exported by the US. But where will it all go now that China has said "enough"? The reality is, there are few places around the world that can take on that much recycling.
And it's not just the US that is looking for somewhere to offload the trash. SinceChina and Hong Kong have taken 72 percent of all plastic waste in the world. Finding a replacement for that kind of contribution will not be easy. It's the truth. Not even Indonesia, Vietnam or India are capable of taking on what China once did.
In the US, the recycling is already starting to pile up. In fact, some facilities are so overrun that they have stopped sorting through plastic and paper altogether, and are sending it all to the landfill instead. And this is just the start of the problem. To make their goal, China is taking it up a notch.
In April this year, the country announced it would be banning a further 32 types of scrap metals for import to recycling plants. Each of these bans will reportedly be introduced incrementally, with half of them starting next year and the rest taking effect in If the US and other countries around the world cannot figure out a way to recycle their waste domestically, the problem will only grow more and more insurmountable.As nations around the globe observe Earth Day, one of the most daunting issues facing the world is the mounting waste problem, which impairs public health, pollutes the environment and threatens to drown some poor countries in toxicity.
Here are a look at the problem and some possible solutions:. Each year, nations generate 1. The U. China with a population around four times larger than that of the U. The more urbanized and industrialized a country becomes, the more trash it produces, Ijjasz-Vasquez said.Sunday Live: TSLAQ Trash - Chris Bloomstran
The United Nations Environment Program predicts the amount of waste will probably double in lower-income African and Asian cities as a result of population growth, urbanization and rising consumption. Ijjasz-Vasquez said developing nations tend to spend more on collection than on disposal, but collection is still not efficient.
South Asia and Africa have the lowest level of efficient waste collection, according World Bank statistics. Unlike most utilities, such as gas, water and electricity, that are charged depending on how much is used, it works differently for waste. Because most cities and towns charge a flat fee for trash service or include it within the property tax, most Americans pay little attention to the amount of waste they are discarding, he said.
Reno, who spent a year working as a paper picker at a mega-landfill on the outskirts of Detroit exploring our relationship with garbage, said that although the country has no shortage of space for its trash, even the best-run landfills can stress the environment.
The threat of waste to the environment, health and safety is huge. And so are the financial and social ramifications, waste experts say. Pollution runs into rivers and seeps into ground water. Flooding is caused by garbage clogging drains, and the atmosphere can be poisoned by the toxic discharge from trash. When waste is not collected, the frequency of illness such as diarrhea doubles and acute respiratory infection — linked to the burning of waste — is six times higher, Ijjasz-Vasquez said.
In less developed nations, uncollected waste is typically heaviest near less affluent neighborhoods and slums. For scavengers, discarded food in the heaps of trash provides sustenance and a livelihood. At the same time, those who forage through the dumps expose themselves to hazards such as lead and mercury and infectious agents.
Trash also causes a financial burden. In the U. The key is ensuring the waste actually gets collected for disposal, Ijjasz-Vasquez said.
Changing behavior so that people and societies are encouraged to reduce and recycle waste is also crucial. They include projects such as basic trash collection and disposal, reuse and recycling, and initiatives aimed at changing habits related to waste. In some countries, informal waste workers have been given formal employment opportunities in waste management. In the United States, where recycling programs have been operating in full force for years, some experts believe the answer to reducing waste lies in charging for its disposal by weight or other metrics.
Used in more than cities and counties across the country, the program charges residents a set fee in cash for each bag they dispose of at a drop-off location. Happy Earth Day!
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Like the entire waste management industry, Shapiro is trying to keep his employees healthy and safe so they can handle the massive influx of household trash that is accumulating as more Americans self-quarantine at home. We can't do that on a short-term basis. It's just a nightmare. Tenleytown Trash workers are wearing masks made by the Washington National Opera's costume department. In order to redirect resources and address the growing amount of day-to-day household waste, about 50 communities nationwide have paused curbside recycling pickup and dozens have suspended yard waste collection, according to the Solid Waste Association of America.
Other companies are shifting workers to residential routes and away from slower commercial routes where many of the businesses have closed. Companies are also making contingency plans in case the residential volume becomes too great or their workers get sick. Read More. Shapiro said one of his drivers and the colleague he rides with have both tested positive for coronavirus, as well as one of his administrative employees. Another driver recently said he was scared to work and is staying home, according to Shapiro.
And Shapiro, who employs 32 drivers, is growing concerned that more employees will want to do the same.Source: Science Quest. The world is facing a growing garbage crisis.
We produce too much—2. Sweden might have the answer to our garbage problem. Sweden ranks among the cleanest countries in the world. Each year they produce 4. What happens to the rest? Three tons of garbage household or industrial can produce the same amount of energy as one ton of fuel oil.
So besides saving valuable land from becoming landfill, waste to energy facilities pump power back into the grid without using up our dwindling fossil fuels. How a Waste To Energy works. Source: Farmer John. First, these facilities are expensive to construct although proper landfills are almost equally expensive to build. Second, in countries with bad recycling records, like the United States, trash is filled with toxic substances.
Converting waste to energy requires that trash to be burned, and any toxins in the trash will likely end up in the air.
This releases heavy metals, POPs persistent organic pollutants like dioxins, and furans into the atmosphere, which has a negative impact on the environment as well as public health. Sorting out plastics and metals beforehand reduces these pollutants significantly, as the experience of Sweden—a country that places a higher value on sorting out recyclables than most others—shows.
But it will likely take decades for our country to catch up. Waste-to-energy facilities can help stimulate the labor market, decrease the amount of trash that ends up wasting away in a landfill, and produce energy all while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Combined with an overall reduction in trash production and better recycling programs, energy recovery may be part of the solution to our global garbage crisis. Waste To Energy Facility. Source: Hdrinc. By Julia Day. Share Tweet Email. Report a bad ad experience. Julia Day. Julia Day is a New York based writer and illustrator. Previous Post. You might also like.The world produces over two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year, enough to fill overOlympic sized swimming pools.
Per head of population the worst offenders are the US, as Americans produce three times the global average of waste, including plastic and food. The study has been compiled by Verisk Maplecroft, a research firm that specialises in global risk. They've used publically-available data, plus academic research to develop a global picture of how countries are coping at a time when the world is facing a mounting crisis, primarily driven by plastic.
The waste generation index shows per capita rates of municipal solid waste, plastic, food and hazardous materials. Municipal solid waste is rubbish that's collected by local authorities from residential, institutional and commercial sources. While the world produces 2. Their output is three times that of their Chinese counterparts and seven times more than people living in Ethiopia. Other European countries, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Germany, feature on the list.
The UK ranks 14th in the waste index generating kg of household waste per person every year.
'It's just a nightmare.' Trash collectors overwhelmed by rising amount of household waste
When it comes to recycling in the US, the issue seems to be one of political will and infrastructure. The banning of waste imports in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia is changing the global dynamic. There have been tensions between the government of the Philippines which sent back 69 shipping containers containing waste to Canada. The report suggests there may be a rocky road ahead, especially for businesses. Verisk Maplecroft expects governments to act on waste issues but with businesses footing the bill.
Philippines sends tonnes of rubbish back to Canada Glastonbury clean-up under way. They've developed two new indices, on waste generation and recycling.
The US is the only developed nation with waste generation that outstrips its ability to recycle. Related Topics.However, the flexibility of having our own car and keeping to our own agenda also meant that we were able to explore other areas of interest that were not included in the itinerary. My husband and I had an amazing tour of Iceland. Nordic Visitor provided us with itineraries and vouchers that were very helpful and organized.
Nordic Visitor responded quickly in providing us a refund when our kayaking tour was cancelled due to weather conditions. We loved having different choices of cars and level of accommodation to adjust our costs. You were very helpful in suggesting and arranging activities. We were very happy to have the itinerary, highlights and info all bound together. Each evening we would look it over and get excited about the next day.
Thank you for your assistance in exploring Iceland. We hope to return. Larus had a difficult booking as we had people arriving at different times, we needed the 2 car hires to be split 6 ways and a few of us did different options at the end of the car hire. He worked it out perfectly and well understood our sometimes complicated emails. The inclusions of Private Pick Up, mobile phones, GPS and inclusion of 2 drivers per car was a big seller to us. Booking with an Icelandic based company to do Iceland gave us confidence in having someone to easily contact if problems occurred.
What an absolute delight it was to deal with Larus, who well understood all our requirements. The day tour to Lake Myvatn - something Magic, was an absolute delight and our guide excellentNordic Visitor delivered everything that was promised on their website.
The marking of accommodation, route and attractions on the map in highlighter was fantastic and made it easier to plan our days. I really felt your booklet of Useful information and Iceland Highlights was very helpful. Iceland is a beautiful country, the people are friendly, the geology is unique and the history is very interesting. I traveled with my sister and we were thrilled with your services. Your planned suggested route and booking of accommodations for us was especially helpful and what we were the most interested in.
It left us able to focus on the sites we wanted to see and the things we wanted to experience. Alexandra was very communicative from the first booking inquiry I sent to the last minute addition of a Glacier Hike. You were also very patient and accommodating when my credit card company declined a charge. We were sad we were unable to meet with Alexandra during our time there, but we just had too much to do. There were no problems and we had a tremendous time.
Thank you for a trip of a lifetime.
The world’s trash crisis, and why many Americans are oblivious
I have already recommended you to a former colleague interested in a trip to Iceland and I am sure he won't be the last. I hope to get to use you again some day. We started with the Full Circle tour and customized it. I've never used a tour company before--I do all the trip planning in our family, and even though we were using Nordic Visitor, I did a lot of research and had some specific requests.
Larus was fantastic, answering my questions and making good suggestions about routes and places to stay. Nordic Visitor provides maps plus vouchers for all hotels, services, and tours booked through them. Their road atlas is crammed with historical information. Unfortunately, it goes around the ring road in a clockwise direction, and we were going counter-clockwise--which meant I had to figure out how to read it backwards.
Even if you're using Nordic Visitor to do your bookings, it's a good idea to take some responsibility for your trip and get a good guidebook or do some internet research before you go, especially if you want to look for small museums that don't make the "highlights" lists.
Nordic Visitor lends you a mobile phone, preloaded with minutes. Look up the roaming costs to use your own phone (assuming you've got a GSM phone) in Iceland, and you'll see what a good thing this is.
There's a Trash Crisis in The US Happening Right Now
We didn't use the phone a lot, but it was nice to know we had it, just in case there was a problem.First Scoring PlayOwn goals, overs and behinds will count as first scoring play. Highest Scoring QuarterQuarter with highest combined score of both teams will be deemed the winner.
First Quarter BettingThe First quarter must be completed for bets to have action. Motor Racing (Cars)FORMULA ONE RACINGAll race bets are settled on the official classification from the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the sport's governing body, at the time of the podium presentation.
Drivers ChampionshipEach participant is priced to be the top driver over the Formula 1 season in accordance with Drivers Championship standings, and rules as specified by the FIA. Constructors ChampionshipEach participant is priced to be the top constructor over the Formula 1 season in accordance with Constructors Championship standings, and rules as specified by the FIA.
Individual Grand Prix BettingAll drivers who start the formation lap are deemed as runners. Qualification MarketsOfficial qualifying times as recorded by the FIA will be used for settlement. Fastest Driver in Every Qualifying PhasePredict whether an individual driver will be the fastest qualifier in all 3 phases of qualifying.
Fastest Qualifying StagePredict which qualifying phase will produce the fastest qualifying time. Start of the RaceThe start of any race is defined as the signal to start the formation lap. Highest Finishing PositionIf both drivers fail to complete the race then the driver completing the most laps will be deemed the winner.
Finishing Position MarketsIf both drivers fail to complete the race then the driver completing the most laps will be deemed the winner. Team PointsBets will be settled on the combined points total of both drivers within a manufacturer's team. Race Match BettingBets will be settled on the official classification at the time of podium presentation. Winning CarAll cars will be deemed as runners. Fastest LapThe official FIA result at the time of the podium presentation for the race will be used.
Will There Be a Safety Car Period During the Race. Race Group BettingThe winner is the driver achieving the highest placing at the time of the podium presentation. First Driver to Retire (Formation Lap Counts)Driver must start 1st formation lap. First Constructor Retirement (Formation Lap Counts)Bets will have action once the 1st formation lap starts.
Handicap BettingEach driver's handicap is applied to their race time. First Lap MarketsBets are settled on the first completed lap of the original race start. To Retire on the 1st LapAny driver who is deemed to have completed no laps on the official FIA Race Classification will be deemed winners.
Driver Position at End of 1st LapSelect a driver's position at the end of the first fully completed lap of a named Grand Prix. Team Match-UpsSettlement will be based on the team accumulating the most points at the end of a specified raceConstructor HandicapThe result will be determined by the number of points accumulated for a specified race by the two named constructors after the handicap has been applied.
Driver Handicap MatchesThe result will be determined by the number of points accumulated for a specified race by the two named drivers after the handicap has been applied.
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