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Why China Doesn’t Want Your Trash Anymore

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Why China Doesn’t Want Your Trash Anymore


5 min read
5 take-aways
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What's inside?

China has gone beyond mere trash talk to refusing refuse. 

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Although the Western world criticizes China’s pollution, the West has sold much of its recyclable waste to China since 1988. In recent years, rapid economic growth and stricter environmental policies in China prompted an end to this practice. PolyMatter’s thought-provoking report explores the impact of this decision on China and the world. Though its sardonic tone may serve to trivialize this monumental, rarely discussed global issue, this trash talk is essential viewing for policy makers, sustainability professionals and consumers alike. 


Just 15 miles [24 km] from the center of Beijing lies a skyscraper, eight stories high, made entirely of trash. This landfill offers livelihoods to some 160,000 people, who gather, sort and resell 25,000 tons of refuse daily. The landfill accumulates not only local garbage but rubbish generated around the world. Since 1988, China has imported almost half of the world’s plastic waste. In fact, the United States alone ships thousands of containers filled with trash to China every day. China is the United States’ biggest trading partner. The US imports masses of affordable Chinese-made goods that cross the Pacific ...

About the Speaker

PolyMatter is a YouTube channel that creates content on a range of topics, including economics, business and design.

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