The recent Chinese recycling ban has begun negatively targeting people in its homeland as Leung Siu-Guen, a small scrap recyclable collector, begins to worry. She already works as a dishwasher late at night and most nights only receiving five hours of sleep. The price drop of scrap cardboard in China has her worried. The world has shipped their recyclables to China since the 90s, then China would break those products down into raw materials. This has been the driving force for the country’s manufacturing boom. The cost has been predominately the environmental pollution.

In 2016, the country reported that they imported about $18 billion worth of what the government calls solid waste. As of recent years, China wants to rid themselves of the “foreign garbage.” Their reasoning is to protect their citizens health and environmental concerns. This decision has caused an uproar in the global economy. Companies are trying to find other countries willing to import the waste, but China’s market was so large that no other country can match up. China began to take a stand against waste in 2013, whenever they tighten security over the imported trash. This caused many recyclers to update their operation and invest in new waste-sorting technologies. Ms. Leung knew there was an uphill battle whenever the regulations dropped. She and many other small scrap collectors collect waste from around the city to trade with the waste collectors. They take the waste to sell to a large manufacturing plant.

In the States, this means more waste will stay inland. To some recyclers that sounds like a good plan, but there is not enough to keep up with the amount that Americans recycle each day. Currentt recyclers will need to upgrade their current workshop and that will ultimately cost more to recycle. Much of the recyclables will end up in the landfill.

The New York Times