China’s Green Fence policy is getting US plastics sent to landfills.
Environmental lobbyists are probably not going to be happy about this. The US is practically paying to have plastics dumped in the same landfill as the rest of our waste. We might want to start just chucking those plastics in the garbage now, because China is rejecting plastics falling in categories from three through seven.
Until the US can find a more economical way to recycle plastic themselves, this is going to continue. China‘s Green Fence policy is a new initiative China has put in place to reduce the amount of pollution created from the processing of plastic waste. All but the cleanest plastics of only certain varieties are being rejected and ending up in landfills as a result, and it’s been going on for a while now. China isn’t going to take the “fence” down, either.
David Kaplan, CEO of Maine Plastics, said of the situation, “[Plastics] 3-7 are absolutely going to a landfill – [China's] not taking that any more … because of Green Fence. This will continue until we can do it in the United States economically.”
Initially, the China Green Fence policy was only supposed to be in effect until November 2013, but as of now, China has decided it’s here to stay. It doesn’t make much sense though, as recycled plastics are much less expensive to use than regular plastic.
— Dulcey Simpkins (@DulceySimpkins) September 16, 2013
Long story short, China’s new policy to keep pollution down has made it so our efforts to be environmentally friendly are a waste of time and money. Yes, cheaper plastics are better economically, but it’s also adding to piles of waste that are apparently getting out of hand across the pond.
David Kaplan continued on the subject of the China Green Fence policy raised for pollution problems:
“Because China got this bad press for pollution, the Chinese government says, ‘You know what? It’s because of importation of plastic scrap.’ The reason … that people can’t breathe in Beijing is plastics emissions. That seems kind of arbitrary.”
Valerie Androutsopoulos of recycling consultant Vangel Inc. stated on the other hand, “It will then reduce the amount of junk that is getting sent to China that should not have been getting sent and it will level the playing field for everybody.”
The China Green Fence policy is making our recycling efforts futile as most of our plastics are now being tossed into our own landfills.