See More on Facebook

Curiosity

California feels the effect of China’s waste ban

An unforeseen side of the trade war has California struggling to find a solution to its waste disposal problem.


Written by

Updated: June 6, 2018

Local authorities in California are thinking hard how to cut down on the amount of junk their residents throw away, as China’s waste import ban is starting to have an impact on the state’s economy and environmental goals.

Local governments and the recycling industry are taking steps to encourage waste prevention, reduce contamination of recyclable materials, and improve post-collection processing, all in response to China’s National Sword policy, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Some cities are hiring more workers at material recovery facilities and slowing down sorting lines to ensure contaminated material is diverted before recyclables are baled for export.

San Jose is exploring methods to encourage residences and businesses to produce less waste. Mid-Valley Disposal, a hauler in the Central Valley, is altering its educational flyers to be more specific as to what materials can be placed in recycling containers to combat contamination.

San Francisco-based waste management company Recology has recently upgraded the facility for sorting and cleaning recyclable commodities and plans to invest $3 million in new sorting technology this year, said Recology spokesman Robert Reed.

“National Sword is not just a local issue; it is a global one. We are asking customers to be more attentive to sorting,” said Reed.

San Francisco has been working with Recology to ensure pure recycle streams, which means their recycled commodities are competitive for alternative markets, said Charles Sheehan of San Francisco Department of the Environment.

The export of baled recyclable materials is a key component of California’s recycling infrastructure. China had accepted a significant amount of the recyclable materials shipped from California since 2000, as the shipping cost is relatively inexpensive and prices offered are relatively high.

About 62 percent of all the recyclable material generated in the state goes to China, according to CalRecycle estimates.

The National Sword policy, which went into effect in March, bans the import of 24 categories of scrap materials, including low-grade plastics and unsorted mixed paper.

Starting on May 4, China stopped accepting any imports of recyclable materials from the US for one month.

The policy change is resulting in more material being stockpiled at solid waste facilities and recycling centers or disposed of in landfills, said CalRecycle.

Besides the recycling and diversion goals, the policy is expected to have a significant impact on California’s economy, as recyclable materials exported from California had a total value of $5.2 billion in 2017.

The National Sword policy will cause recycling market conditions to continue to shift down to “unprecedented levels” in the immediate term, said San Jose Environmental Services Department in a memorandum, which will be reviewed by the City Council on Tuesday.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Curiosity

West Papua and its troubled history with Indonesia

Recent riots and protests are just symptoms of long simmering ethnic tensions. Protests have broken out in the Indonesian province of West Papua with a local parliament being set alight and buildings torched in Sorong, the province’s largest city. The protests, involving hundreds of people, occurred throughout the province on Wednesday with buildings set on fire, including a prison where 250 inmates escaped, and rocks and projectiles thrown at security forces. The protests erupted, in part, because of the detention of ethnic Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya over accusations that they had desecrated the Indonesian flag on its national day. But long running ethnic tensions between the native West Papuans and the Indonesian central government have plagued the province since it was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s. A colonial legacy After the


By Cod Satrusayang
August 23, 2019

Curiosity

China to impose sanctions on US firms over Taiwan arms sales

The US have approved the sale of F16 fighter jets to Taiwan. China on Wednesday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned arms sales to Taiwan, saying China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests including imposing sanctions on US companies involved in the planned sales. The US Defense Department on Wednesday officially notified the US Congress of the plan to sell 66 F-16 fighters and relevant equipment worth around US$8 billion to Taiwan and to provide support. “China firmly opposes the plan and has lodged solemn representations and protests to the US side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing. ALSO READ: 


By China Daily
August 22, 2019

Curiosity

India successfully places probe in moon’s orbit

Landing attempt will take place on September 7. In a significant step for India’s moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully placed in the moon’s orbit on Tuesday in a nerve-wracking manoeuvre, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) was completed successfully at 9.02 am as planned using the onboard propulsion system. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy. “The duration of manoeuvre was 1,738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114km X 18,072km,” the ISRO said. The 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2, a three-module spacecraft comprising an orbiter, Lander Vikram and rover, which was launched on July 22, will make a soft-land on the moon on September 7. The process of setting down Chandrayaan 2 on the Moon i


By The Statesman
August 21, 2019

Curiosity

Seoul reviews military intel-sharing pact with Japan

Koreans divided on GSOMIA as the deadline for renewal emerges on Saturday. Nearly six decades have passed since South Korea and Japan signed a treaty to normalize diplomatic ties in 1965, but their relationship has been fraught since then with continued bitterness over the history of Korea’s colonization. Now, as the relationship of the “frenemies” hits a new low with a budding trade war, Seoul has hinted at scrapping a military intel-sharing pact with Tokyo. But while South Koreans are unified in denouncing Japan’s increased controls on exports to South Korea, opinions are split over whether it is appropriate to use the military informati


By The Korea Herald
August 21, 2019

Curiosity

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019

Curiosity

Nearly two million rally peacefully in Hong Kong

Government says while rally is generally peaceful, traffic disrupted. Protesters gathered at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, as well as the Central Government Complex next to it on Sunday night (Aug 18). This followed an earlier peaceful march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central despite a police ban. Some protesters, however, turned their laser pointers on the government offices. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters lingered on Harcourt Road, prompting police to issue a warning for them to disperse. The police said the protesters had “shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers”, posing a safety threat. Protesters there briefly surrounded a mainland Chinese man and questioned his identity after he was spotted trying


By The Straits Times
August 19, 2019