My German friends in the small farming village where I lived would remind me, conspiratorially, that the government wasn't really recycling all that stuff.
When we returned to the states, we voluntarily paid our garbage service more money for a recycling bin, but we were shocked at how loose the rules were. On a few occasions, to our horror, our kids had thrown garbage into the bins, but nobody at the garbage company even batted an eye.
My wife and I have long suspected US recycling was a scam, but then the free market solution came to me: We were paying other countries to take our dirty, garbage-laden and improperly sorted recycling (those bill envelopes with the plastic window? You are supposed to remove that window before putting the envelope in the paper recycling), and those nations taking our recycling paid slave laborers nickels a day to clean it, and then they sold it on the global market.
China's Not Taking our Crap Anymore
The Guardian calls it a Moment of Reckoning. China will no longer take our dirty recycling, and most of our recycling other than metals and heavy plastics, are unmarketable, making them no better than garbage. One municipality was selling recycling for $6 a ton, but now must pay $68 to $125 to get rid of it, and its the same all over.
It will be interesting to see how we deal with this challenge. What do you think?
Is this the End of Recycling?
'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports