It’s only been a year and a half since China put a halt to accepting the world’s recyclable waste products, yet the effects are being felt in many countries — and in turn, local municipalities — that are scrambling with the challenge of dealing with their own recyclables, including cans, plastics, papers, and glass.
When laws mandating curbside recycling began sprouting up across the United States in the early 1980s, many Americans balked at the idea of being forced to sort their trash. Decades later, it’s embraced by residents in cities and towns throughout the country. In fact, the entire recycling movement has become as second nature to most folks as breathing.
But in January of last year, China quit importing most foreign recyclables, stating it wanted to address its nation’s own pollution issues. So, when you consider that the United States alone used to send 4,000 shipping containers of recycled goods to China each day, you can see the effect this might have on our recycling habits, especially in locations absent of recycling centers and recycling mills of their own.
As a result, the co-founder and director of operations here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), Celine Adair, is offering insight and some advice on what each of us can do to curtail the impact of this global event in our personal lives. Specifically, Celine is exploring how the nation’s outdoor, experiential, and adventure-based educators and guides can manage — and thrive — in this new era in the evolution of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
But first some additional background into the severity of the problem. China’s decision has the potential to