Trash has become worthless in China, crimping the recycling business, the New York Times reported on March 12.
The problem isn’t confined to China:
Environmentalists and recycling experts worry about the impact of the recycling slump. With Western curbside recycling programs becoming less profitable, local governments are being forced to re-examine their programs as they struggle to balance budgets. In some cases, that means that office printouts and soda cans, once exported, went to landfills.
“It used to be that recyclers would pay governments for these goods,” said Mr. Savage of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. “But now governments have to pay recyclers. What was once a revenue stream is now a cost to cities.”