How China Broke the World's Recycling 

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Writing by Sam Denby
Research by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Select footage courtesy the AP Archive

[1] docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/SS/...
[2] docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/FE_...
[3] www.dakotavalleyrecycling.org...
[4] www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692...
[5] www.bottledwater.org/rpet-facts
[6] www.ft.com/content/360e2524-d...
[7] www.businessinsider.com/plast...

Musicbed SyncID:



16-Dek, 2020



Yuklab olish:


Saqlab olish:

Mening pleylistlarim
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Fikrlar 0   
mark pope
mark pope 3 soat oldin
Why is nobody talking about banning cheap plastic items from China that don’t last. they break and they get thrown away into our landfills. why are we not banning the importation of that?
mark pope
mark pope 3 soat oldin
So the solution of the leftists in Berkeley is the ban plastic straws, LOL
**** 3 soat oldin
Wait, the information is awesome, but the advertisement spoof attached to the end? Kinda disappointing.
Blackened Merlin
Blackened Merlin 9 soat oldin
Something almost always overlooked... landfilling plastics, is carbon sequestration, in a way that's stable for thousands of years.
Dwayne Beasley
Dwayne Beasley 11 soat oldin
The cute way scientifically stain because lyre radiologically practise amid a slippery whorl. typical, helpful tailor
Herioz 11 soat oldin
So again late nineties decision of executives screw the world ecology.
Jagzilla 16 soat oldin
Recycling..LOL! They broke the whole world...
Puzekat Meow
Puzekat Meow 21 soat oldin
Recycling plastic needs to be a non-profitable company. Is there a break even point in recyclables? I’d gladly run a company, get a modest salary and have no profit every year and the government should loan me money.
Genius Gamer (Jake Balmer)
The recycling crisis and constant deluge of plastic problems is cool and all but what happened at 16:53?
Markg330 Kun oldin
Next idea.... shoot it into space
Nate B
Nate B Kun oldin
Pyrolysis plants can turn mixed plastics into fuel, giving them a positive value (removing energy to produce from the equation, for now). Hopefully at some point, waste plastic will be sold instead of paid to take. Not there yet but getting closer
Jeffrey Johnson (DiscipleOfEris)
Seems like the solution has to be something along the lines of taxing virgin plastics to make them more expensive, and subsidizing recycled plastics to make them cheaper (probably with the revenue from virgin plastic taxes). That is, force the plastics manufacturers to pay for the externalities of their industry.
CHEN DAVID Kun oldin
Wendover is a joke. The title should be "How the world's recycling system is broke"
rommelfcc Kun oldin
Putting a tax or tariff on plastic production and Imports. Then using that money for higher turnover of recycling. We need to know the real cost, the same should be done for the meat and dairy industries, to cover the coat of the diseases they create! And to inform the consumer! Then there shouldn't be a need for disease induced medical insurance. Know the real cost and informative decisions on what should be open Facts.
WOLFROY47 Kun oldin
how do you solve the problem ? easy, stop producing non recyclable plastic. better still, go back to using glass. new isn't always better because of the hidden long term cost to everyone, even those that have never used the dam stuff, produced, be people, that were looking for a cheap way, to get rid of their unwanted waste products, and pass the cost onto everyone else just not them. question, where and who, was supposed to be looking out, for our, the majority's, best interests ? and how much were they bribed, to turn a blind eye ?
Iono Sama
Iono Sama Kun oldin
The title likely will lead someone to a somewhat different conclusion when they just read it without actually going through the video... which is... unfortunate because the video actually went through a much more objective and clear problem posed by the system. But that's not what ppl are going to assume reading the title, even though in a sense it was correct.
Shaun Coleman
Shaun Coleman Kun oldin
You really should not be shipping your garbage over seas. Actually I think that no municipality should be allowed to send it's garbage outside of its boundaries. If cities had to deal with their own garbage they may actually find better ways to deal with it.
Laurence Kueffer
Laurence Kueffer 2 kun oldin
The solution requires creativity and imagination: The government needs to step in, and subsidize recycling industrial expenses, to make the whole system profitable. This can be accomplished, more easily, by directly taxing plastic products (with a retail tax), probably just a few cents per product is enough. The government being any world government, but especially the governments in North America.
Dennis Cambly
Dennis Cambly 2 kun oldin
China dropped all plastic imports from the US and it's puppets in retaliation to Trump's sanctions on China. You could have found that information has you looked a little further than the US narrative. Russia dropped imports of nuclear waste from the US at the same time due to the same reason. The landfills are overflowing with our own garage because a demcracy must have a profit. Though very few government accounts show where the deposit fee dollars go.
Soulife 2 kun oldin
They reject the world's recycling & internet and then give the world Corona and falling rocket hazards. They give money to foreign interest groups & government initiatives and then take countries, seas, and people's rights away. Why China, why? Blink twice if Winnie the Pooh is threatening you.
1969rett 2 kun oldin
Coming right down to it, is the millionaires past the hot potato. Millionaires should be made to pay taxes.
Greg Summerson
Greg Summerson 2 kun oldin
So you used COVID to shut the system down
Greg Summerson
Greg Summerson 2 kun oldin
I don’t see anyone running to join the amish
U HU 2 kun oldin
This video, especially its title, is so emblematic of how the West is dealing with China coming to its own.
alexisd3000 2 kun oldin
unless governments restrict the production of new plastics, recycling won't be useful at all... we absolutely need to develop ways to reuse this material, paving roads with plastic may be a good idea, building houses perhaps? if the human race survives long enough, we might see our reckless use of all petroleum products as laughable... but for now, and the more immediate future, we just have to suffer the consequences.
Björn Westman
Björn Westman 2 kun oldin
So where is most of this unprofitable plastic produced in the first place? It would not surprise me if the answer to this question is China….
Russell Sama
Russell Sama 2 kun oldin
Stop using one off contianers. And each country should recycle there own waste.
Carl Feniak
Carl Feniak 2 kun oldin
Great video! Except the end where he glazed over possible solutions which might become economic and just dismissed them as uneconomic now (like the bacteria that can breakdown unsorted plastic back to its raw constituents, that’s awesome).
Bryan 3 kun oldin
Some people are so desperate to shit on the USA that they feel the need to call this a US only problem. As if no one has access to google to see that the UK and Western Europe had issues with this too. People love to pretend out loud.
Michael Monro
Michael Monro 3 kun oldin
So basically, China dumps the garbage into the Pacific instead of recycling it... That is where the Pacific garbage patch came from.... It all makes sense now.
Luke Williams
Luke Williams 3 kun oldin
And here I was all this time thinking recycling happened out of the goodness of the industry’s heart, not only when it’s economically viable. Heck people didn’t donate to Team Trees cause it was profitable, they did it cause it’s the right thing to do. Is- is that too hard of a concept for corporations to grasp?
Den Of Wolves
Den Of Wolves 20 soat oldin
Money money money It's all they care about
Ankita Mohapatra
Ankita Mohapatra 3 kun oldin
virgin tax!
Jerid “J of one trade”
Don't worry guys there is still Africa or South East Asia to dump all our trash so we can live on our pedestal a bit longer.
Catro Jana
Catro Jana 3 kun oldin
USA is really trashy...🚮
scdalak 3 kun oldin
Worst narration voice ever.
Snake Was Right
Snake Was Right 3 kun oldin
Youd think actual plastic would be a better source of plastic than cracking the earth open and sucking up and piping around oil that needs to be refined and shipped. Seems like it'd be just as easy to refine plastics. But hey, what do I know?
Rob 4 kun oldin
How money is the root of most of our problems....
JuggaloSupreme 4 kun oldin
China didn't break ANYTHING...they just got sick of being the world's dumping ground! WHOLE MOVIE IN 15 SECONDS...YOU'RE WELCOME!!
Phyllis Long
Phyllis Long 4 kun oldin
The wry feet lately reflect because dash desirably wail apud a colorful shirt. few fierce, general gentle distribution
Random Schmid
Random Schmid 4 kun oldin
China broke it? The video literally says China fixed it for a short amount of time
maraika danisch
maraika danisch 4 kun oldin
How about we stop using plastics... I know, a major change for people, but we need to be responsible.
N Z 4 kun oldin
western sent trash to China and said this is the rule
jan ingram
jan ingram 4 kun oldin
radical idea turn the clock back go back to reuseable glass bottles & canvas bags just like granny did
David Bergner
David Bergner 4 kun oldin
Haha, what the hell is this propaganda. The world isn't the US, and the solution isn't that third world contries takes on the same task as China did; the solution is that "the world", i e USA in this case, get their shit together and process their own damn waste. Also a solution isnt only about consumer choosing recycled plastic. The most obvious one should be to replace plastics and fuck big OIL in the first place. Damn this is infuriating.
Jasen Ericksen
Jasen Ericksen 4 kun oldin
Jay Clarke
Jay Clarke 4 kun oldin
Really do hate these propagandist titles.
lindsay jones
lindsay jones 4 kun oldin
Every state should have a company that melts all the plastic and coat chipboard that makes it waterproof.
Tori Lyons
Tori Lyons 4 kun oldin
Externalities, indeed. Dump yr plastics in the street, at the local park, hospital, anywhere highly visible. Do not participate in the lie called 'recycling'. We deserve to live with our shit, not pretend and live an illusion. Only then will a solution be found.
Angel G
Angel G 4 kun oldin
In the past the bottles were made of glass and could be re-filled.
JamesAsp Kun oldin
@Angel G The bacteria Ideonella Sakaiensis is a good start. All the best
Angel G
Angel G 3 kun oldin
@JamesAsp yes, my father stepped on one when I was little. But do you have solution ?
JamesAsp 3 kun oldin
...and found in nature and on beaches broken in parts so people without shoes and animals that never wear shoes got deep bleeding cuts. Never go back to glass. They were discarded for good reasons too.
Patsy Haug
Patsy Haug 4 kun oldin
The fabulous kidney internally bow because pendulum climatologically succeed an a crabby plane. selective, debonair test
Sherwin G
Sherwin G 5 kun oldin
Yes capitalism solves capitalism -america
Charles White64
Charles White64 5 kun oldin
Polluting Irresponsible Overt Business Profit, Over Our Only Planets Sustainability of Us Humans and Everything Else Living' _ Via' Over The Right Responsible and Ethical Progression To Actually 'Solve' The Repeated Problem?, Is Pure Evil Psychosis That's Currently Worshipped as 'Normal' _ WTF? 🆘🌎🌏🌍🆘
Cienne Bela
Cienne Bela 5 kun oldin
Malaysia already stopped i heard
Hoystein 5 kun oldin
"Some are working to make an enzyme" We already have one, and it's one nature found and we stole from bacteria in japan, but it's for "high value" plastic bottles.
JamesAsp 3 kun oldin
Yep. Still remember when I first read about it some years ago.
Tom Whiteside
Tom Whiteside 5 kun oldin
If plastic is made from oil, can it be made from vegetable oil? In other words, can it be made biodegradable?
Tom Whiteside
Tom Whiteside 2 kun oldin
@TheCarMan Yeah, we used paper grocery bags as trash can liners and to cover school books. Those were the days.
TheCarMan 2 kun oldin
@Tom Whiteside I guess if it's going to be used within a certain amount of time. Bio products not only dissolve other bio products, they tend to break down. Sort of like having an expiration date. I do agree with you on those plastic grocery bags, regular paper bags worked quite well for many generations. They lasted long enough to be useful several times over and then decompose. And they could be made (at least in part) from recycled paper. These were a Win Win Win product, so I guess we had to get rid of them.
Tom Whiteside
Tom Whiteside 4 kun oldin
@TheCarMan But could it be made to work for fast food cups or straws, where it only has to hold up for an hour or so. Those two things along with grocery bags, are probably 70% or the trash I see along the roads. Not counting all the masks and gloves
TheCarMan 4 kun oldin
Yes ... but like dissolves like, meaning you can't put bio products into bio produced containers. And almost all store bought bio products come in plastic containers.
Mr. T.
Mr. T. 5 kun oldin
We no longer need China. Time to nuke them. Use the country as a dumpster.
Jeff Peate
Jeff Peate 5 kun oldin
High temperature Incinerate it to make electricity and filter out toxic combustion products.
TheCarMan 4 kun oldin
$$$$ The energy needed to do what you say would be greater than the energy you get from the process. You might as well just use that energy to make the electricity directly.
Bush Man
Bush Man 5 kun oldin
Sounds to me like you're trying to blame China for YOUR trash, such typical 🗑️🗑️ behavior from Americans. China doesn't want your trash...keep it
George Cowie
George Cowie 5 kun oldin
They just threw it in ocean
Evil tux
Evil tux 5 kun oldin
"The world's recycling" you mean the US's?
timmy chang
timmy chang 5 kun oldin
Y do u think we try to reduce plastic bags/styrofoam/etc...here.
annoyedok321 5 kun oldin
Electric cars, solar power, lots of things to make people feel less guilty while the consume. The US government could have been investing in public transportation and energy conservation.
LeftEyeReport 5 kun oldin
LaGuerre19 6 kun oldin
Regarding the ad at the end: I still have a HOTMAIL account and I will never get rid of it. I have other accounts but hey -- who do you know who still has a Hotmail account?
Tsiney Kinori
Tsiney Kinori 6 kun oldin
We the people have to pay for it one way or another.
Truth Seeker
Truth Seeker 6 kun oldin
The title should be “China.. the leader in dealing with western trash for decades”!
William Schutter
William Schutter 6 kun oldin
Your radically ideological assualt on the entire plastics industry is the real unsustainable intellectual garbage here.
William Schutter
William Schutter 6 kun oldin
Imagine. China gets decades more to pollute California's air with coal-fired generating plants but is allowed to refuse to do anything to help with recycling. It clearly pays to be a corrupt and unaccountable Socialist entity.
William Schutter
William Schutter 6 kun oldin
Just charge consumers at the point of sale for all recycling and replace much plastic with biodegradable marerials like hemp based alternatives. The markets will adjust quickly and efficiently without government interference which always creates new problems.
Ankita Mohapatra
Ankita Mohapatra 3 kun oldin
yes. just one note, since retailers need to price-compete to be profitable, they won't charge consumers at POS for all recycling while other retailers continue to charge the lower prices. Therefore the govt may need to interfere in the sense of mandates / externality taxes such that EVERY seller charges the same additional increment for plastic content.
William Schutter
William Schutter 6 kun oldin
The WTO was subverted by the Communist Chinese. What a surprise.
Jon Tung
Jon Tung 6 kun oldin
There is a way to solve this problem without nasty landfills and incineration if plastic has to be continued used. Elon or that blue whatever space company, when you fire a rocket into space pass our orbit, bring it with you then just let it float in space where it is vast and empty
Jon Tung
Jon Tung 6 kun oldin
Amazing how we can make rockets yet we can’t find a plastic substitute
Ty N
Ty N 6 kun oldin
WTF, are those 4 year old kids sorting through piles of ethernet cables?
Gene Raza
Gene Raza 6 kun oldin
The Fact is that China designed a system to recycle un-recyclable garbage. And unfortunately it does not appeal to those countries who rely on free garbage to reprocess it and make a ton of money, due to those countries not having that technology yet. Tough Luck! you should of been thinking about the environment not your pockets.
b Low
b Low 6 kun oldin
The title sh be how the US sent its trash and pollution to China.
Βακουφτσής Ιωάννης Κυριάκος
The problem is the fact that everybody uses environmental concerns in order to achieve price manipulation
george davidson
george davidson 6 kun oldin
The answer to recycling is to incinerate and produce hydro
Matt 6 kun oldin
The solution is actually quite simple. The government should tax the use of virgin plastics, thus making it more expensive than using recycled plastics.
Matt 2 kun oldin
@dexter239 That's hyperbole. A gas tax doesn't make it impossible to get gas, it just makes it more expensive and makes alternatives to gas more competitive.
dexter239 2 kun oldin
Then all industries that use plastics get destroyed. Good luck with getting any items
Krista Gaulin
Krista Gaulin 6 kun oldin
in other words we are screwed
Shu Meister
Shu Meister 6 kun oldin
Water solution: Stop polluting the water so that's it's drinkable without filtration and treatment, stop selling water in plastic bottles. This ends the stupid cycle and mounting of plastic waste. And don't allow Nestle to buy up water rights. We have plenty of the solutions, the issues are corruptions.
Shu Meister
Shu Meister 6 kun oldin
The true cost of labor exploitation doesn't just go away. But rather comes back to affect everyone in the end. As soon as you begin to realise how we're all connected, the idea of trashing the planet, becomes absurd.
Shu Meister
Shu Meister 6 kun oldin
Not profitable is merely an act of deferring the real cost, and making others pay in the future. Making a mess a sweeping it under the rug, and expecting someone else to deal with your mess.
Shu Meister
Shu Meister 6 kun oldin
Never blame another country for not taking YOUR trash and recycling. That is simply lack of responsibility that can no longer be ignored. Solutions: Don't commission others to produce trash, don't buy trash, and find ways to contain trash in a sustainable way. Being ignorant isn't a good excuse.
Liam Redmill
Liam Redmill 7 kun oldin
Watched a couple of your shows,amazing,thank you
water foker
water foker 7 kun oldin
Wendover tells you how it happened. I tell you why it happened. Just like most of China's recent policies, their strategy is to have the world depend on them then flip the coin and close doors and force favorable deals when they no longer play ball. They have largely for the most of 1980s 1990s became the world's sweatshop with the world depending on China to manufacture basically anything. Now that they have stolen many of the world's IP and technologies, they want to become self independent self reliant just like thousands of years ago where they are the single most advanced country in the world. They will set policies with the world at a breakeven or even a loss, set a flat currency rate, manipulative the Yuan to be artificially less valuable to attract more buyers and investors, etc. All so the world depends on China and now China says no more and begins to make demands and strives towards being #1. Hence the recent war between US and China is a geopolitical economical cyber war
Amanda 7 kun oldin
That's why I buy in bulk, try not to use plastic (even though recycling companies here aren't taking glass anymore! One of the most recyclable things ever! There is a company in NY who makes cool "gravel" with it and it doesn't really get hotter than regular gravel), buy used or not buying anything at all. Our garbage company takes almost no recycling now, barely any plastic now, no glass.... What's the point
Mac Tek
Mac Tek 7 kun oldin
If China didn't buy up waste in the first place, this never would have happened. China created this head fake. Nobody else did. China also created the pandemic. Nothing good comes from China. It's a hellhole.
Heathercliff 7 kun oldin
China was into taking the worlds recyclables. They made big money from it. It was valuable to them pre 2015. They only stopped because they no longer need the revenue from it.
BOCA BOCA 7 kun oldin
我感觉视频其实只是在用一个吸引人的标题,告诉大家一个经济规律的事实。 同时也是呼吁各国本应该自己解决/平衡好自己的垃圾和环保问题。原本便宜的,容易的,其实损人利己的方式,已经不奏效了。 所以不用负面解读为对任何一个国家的敌意。 作为一个中国人,对于国家走出这重要且有意义的一步还是非常认同的,在垃圾处理,环境保护,达成碳中和等课题上,相信中国还会做更多。
Professor Jay Tee
Professor Jay Tee 7 kun oldin
We used to use wax-lined paper containers for many products... milk, yogurt, drink cups and more. Guess we don't know how to go back to that! Hmm... Hemp paper should work well. With the massive increase in the use of cannabis products in the US, can't somebody recycle the plant waste to make hemp paper?
Roger Bartlet
Roger Bartlet 8 kun oldin
Recycling became a racket
Theeraphat Sunthornwit
How China stop being USA recycling slave 😅
BladeTheWatcher 8 kun oldin
No, no, no. Technology CAN be an answer. Just develop something that makes recycling more profitable.
Закиров Марат
One another fails of capitalism
Marco Martinez
Marco Martinez 8 kun oldin
China takes the plastics, the sends it to a smaller countries that has no power to say no, money changes hands , between politicians, then they take it out in the ocean an dump it! out of site out of Americans minds. we as consumers continue to buy instead of demanding change in our Government.
James Endicott
James Endicott 8 kun oldin
There's actually another solution to this that relies on letting the free market work: place a tax on virgin plastic to account for lifecycle costs. That removes the externality currently being exploited to artificially deflate the price of virgin plastic. (Remember, free market means free of externalities not free from interference/regulations) We've successfully done exactly this with other products in the past. It boils down to convincing the government to act against the interests of companies and short term interests of voters in favor of the long term interests of voters... The fact that we can't do that is a problem with democracy, not economics.
gabor korthy
gabor korthy 9 kun oldin
Remember when yogurt was sold in paper cups ? When you could replace a dull razor blade with out tossing the entire razor ? Stores used paper bags and soda bottles were collected, sterilized and refilled ?
pakuma3 9 kun oldin
Don't make people wait for 10 minutes to tell them what you promised at the beginning of the video
Richard Crist
Richard Crist 9 kun oldin
The last line from the video is that we just have to stop using plastic. But he is ignoring his own solution to the plastics problem. Economics. The question is which costs less 1) replacing plastic with other materials (assuming that is even possible) 2) cleaning the environment from plastic pollution.
Ken O
Ken O 9 kun oldin
This video addresses the not profitable plastics that are placed into recycling bins. But what about those bottles that are returned for their deposit fee? We can increase the incentive for consumers by charging a far higher deposit charge, say 40 cents instead of 5 cents. HOWEVER, although the sorting would already be done, would the quality of plastic be worth it?
GW Barr
GW Barr 9 kun oldin
OK A well researched video and a rational conclusion as far as it goes. But, do you know that modern medicine cannot be done without plastics? It's just not possible. There are no substitutes for plastic tubes that are both flexible enough and able to be sanitized. And the plastic parts in medical implants? Do we reengineer them all? How about the years it would take for FDA (in the US) approval? And never mind that cost. And that's just Medicine. How about airplanes? The handling of corrosive industrial chemicals? Even cars would loose milage if plastics were replaced. 17:50 You can't simply stop making plastics. That's an overly simplistic suggestion.
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