Saturday, February 28, 2015

US-based recyclers may gain from China's 'Green Fence' - News - Plastics News

US-based recyclers may gain from China's 'Green Fence' - News - Plastics News: "For some U.S. recyclers, China's "Green Fence" is a gateway to more opportunities.
The policy, which went into effect in February, strictly enforces regulations on importing dirty scrap materials into the country. It has led to a significant drop in imports of plastic waste and put some recyclers out of business, at least temporarily.
The policy is bad news for some municipalities, which are having a tougher time with some low-grade plastics that they collect, since they can no longer ship it to China.
But Green Fence is opening up opportunities for some U.S. plastics recyclers."

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Think your plastic is being recycled? Think again.

Think your plastic is being recycled? Think again.: "Think those plastic items you carefully separate from the rest of your trash are being responsibly recycled? Think again. U.S. recycling companies have largely stayed away from recycling plastic and most of it has been shipped to China where it can be processed cheaper. Not anymore. This year China announced a Green Fence Policy, prohibiting much of the plastic recycling they once imported:
For many environmentally conscious Americans, there’s a deep satisfaction to chucking anything and everything plasticky into the recycling bin—from shampoo bottles to butter tubs—the types of plastics in the plastic categories #3 through #7. Little do they know that, even if their local trash collector says it recycles that waste, they might as well be chucking those plastics in the trash bin.
“[Plastics] 3-7 are absolutely going to a landfill—[China's] not taking that any more… because of Green Fence,” David Kaplan, CEO of Maine Plastics, a post-industrial recycler, tells Quartz. “This will continue until we can do it in the United States economically.”

U.S. recyclers are scrambling to come up with a solution now that China is drastically cutting back on their top import from the U.S.:
China's demand for low-cost recycled raw materials has meant waste shipments from Europe, the US, Japan and Hong Kong have arrived thick and fast, with scrap becoming the top US export to China by value ($11.3bn) in 2011.
China controls a large portion of the recycling market, importing about 70% of the world's 500m tonnes of electronic waste and 12m tonnes of plastic waste each year. Sudden Chinese policy changes therefore have a significant impact on the global recycling trade, which puts pressure on western countries to reconsider their reliance on the cost-effective practice of exporting waste, a habit that's reinforced by a lack of domestic recycling infrastructure and a lower demand for secondary raw materials.

China's Green Fence policy just might spur the U.S. government and recyclers into much-needed innovation:
Historically, higher labor costs and environmental safety standards made processing scrap into raw materials much more expensive in the US than in China. So the US never developed much capacity or technology to sort and process harder-to-break down plastics like #3 through #7.
Green Fence might be a chance to change that, says Mike Biddle, CEO of California-based recycling company MBA Polymers. “China’s Green Fence offers a real opportunity to the US government and recycling industry to step up its efforts on recycling and catalyze a strong domestic recycling market in the US,” Biddle said at a recent webinar on Green Fence."

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The Life of a Plastic Water Bottle - Bloomberg Business

The Life of a Plastic Water Bottle - Bloomberg Business: "Photographer: Thomas Kokta/Getty Images

The Life of a Plastic Water Bottle
The plastic containers water comes in accumulate each year in such volume that they litter beaches, foul seas and carpet landfills"

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Documents released by Greenpeace discredit one of climate change deniers' favorite 'scientists' : TreeHugger

Documents released by Greenpeace discredit one of climate change deniers' favorite 'scientists' : TreeHugger: "Major newspapers boasted front page headlines shaking up the climate change denial community yesterday after Greenpeace released documents linking corporate funding to Willie Wei-hock Soon, a major source of science supporting the viewpoints of people who question whether mankind is causing global warming. The papers, acquired by Greenpeace via a freedom of information act request, demonstrate that the scientific publications resulting from this funding do not comply with ethical practices for disclosing conflicts of interest.

The Washington Post calls Willie Wei-hock Soon the "high priest" of climate change denialists. The New York Times compares the denialists to Big Tobacco, using money to generate the appearance of scientific doubt."

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