Sqib Rahim of NBC News reported on Dec. 1 in a story titled, “California city asked where its recycling went. The answer wasn’t pretty.” Seems the city discovered that a large percentage of the recycling was being sent abroad to countries that lacked environmental and labor laws.
Palo Alto isn’t alone in sham recycling. The story continues, “Experts say cities and towns across the United States would probably have similar difficulty in determining how much of their recyclables are actually recycled.” Key question, how much?
Do the Texas towns claiming they’re participating in the popular concept, circular economy, have recycling transparency ordinances that require real time camera coverage of the recycling trucks dumping, contamination rates of each load and the location from which it came, how much got shipped to Mexico and what happened to it in Mexico, how much was landfilled, how much was incinerated? Code word for incineration, waste-to-energy. How much was actually made into new products?
Single stream began the deterioration of recycling in the United States. Transparency evaporated as private entities took complete charge of our recycling programs. In some instances control was taken by those who had a conflict of interest. Pass transparency laws.