Exposing The Great Global Recycling Fraud



Posted by Ed 3 mths ago

So .... I'm working out of my shack on the beach on the west coast of the south island of New Zealand this week... just me and my dog Padooch .... who has a penchant for chasing and killing sheep --- and the tiny blue-eyed penguins who waddle down the road to their nest each evening


But Padooch now has a collar that has a beeping function .... which she mortally fears... if she goes anywhere near a sheep ... or a penguin.... I push the beeper .... and she scurries back to me cowering and demanding protection from the frightening beeping sound... (ironically...)

It's so effective that I have been thinking of rebranding this device and selling to via Toysrus to parents of young kids.... with a larger version that wives could use on their husbands..... when hubby says ya I will handle that chore later... wife pulls out the beeper and BUZZZZZ ... BUZZZZZ goes hubbies collar ... and immediately he reports for duty with a Yes Ma'am ... what would you like me to do Ma'am!!!


I'm in my shack and I realize that there are no bin liners... and very little food.... so I jump into my two tonnes of metal and plastic and all the rest that was melted and put together with lots of nasty coal generated electricity..... and powered by diesel .... and roll the whole lot into Westport with Padooch proudly riding shotgun (with his bright yellow collar on display)


After selecting what is needed... I arrive at the check-out ... howdy doody to you too I says.... and she says ... wouldja like a bag for your stuff?

Funny you should ask --- yes I really need a couple of plastic bags to line my bin.... so yes I am happy to pay for the bags....

And she pulls out a paper bag .... I pause for thought.... paper bag... bin... soggy items .... in my mind's eye I see me carrying the soggy bag to put it out for collection ... the bag tearing and collapsing .... the soggy stinking garbage inside spewing all over the ground....

I picture me saying screw this .... tossing the worthless paper sack (which was produced no doubt using a lot of chemicals... and energy) .... into the ditch and going to hunt penguins with Padooch (or maybe playing fetch on the beach).

I envision hordes of rats being attracted to the fetid heap of garbage.... of them discovering my shack (which is far from rat proof).... and I imagine being woken from my sleep with that nightmare scene from Orwell's 1984 where the rats are gnawing at my brain....


All that super computes through cortex in milliseconds ... and after that short pause I ask...

Please ma'am ...may I have some.... plastic..... bags?

Oh no chides the marm.... only paper bags here... we don't have any more plastic bags...

But I'll pay extra says I....

Oh no sir even if you pay .... we can't help.... only paper bags... and you have to pay for those....

Another (gentle) pause.... and I say ' but marm.... what will I do with the slop and other rubbish that will soak through the paper bag if I used it to line me bin????

She is puzzled... confused ... unsure of how to respond... I can hear her cortex grinding ... I can smell the cells burning (actually burning - smoke comes out of her ears!!!)

After her very own pause she says .... sorry sorry --- only paper bags....

So I says.... hang on two seconds profusely apologizing to the people in the queue .... I'll be right back!!!

I sprint like a mad dog through the aisles .... there must be bin liners here... I know i have seen them..... up and down I race.... ahah.... here they are 2 bucks 50 for 30 bin liners... Eureka!!! Motherload!!! The rats shall be denied my brain matter!!!

I sprint back and present my roll of plastic bags to the cashier and nonchalantly murmur --- put that on my tab too.... (actually I have two rolls of 30... maybe I need to buy 100 rolls.... just in case they stop selling bin liners?)

She rings it through .... I pause.... should I? Oh what the hell why not...

So tourettes wins the day and I bleat out.... I really don't understand why you have this policy on the bags....

And she says ... but sir .... we are trying to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.... so we don't sell plastic bags....

I glance down at my two rolls of 30 bags each .... I glance at her... I glance back down....

And off I go ... with my plastic bin liners.... and various items of food packaged in plastic ... and hop into my multiple tonne iron vehicle that belches diesel smoke.... and drive back to my shack.... to enjoy the Easter break....


Ed 3 mths ago
Did I mention I lived in Bali for 7 years?

Then I moved to New Zealand 4 years ago.

Did I mention that when I lived in Bali I noticed the beaches were knee deep in plastic.... I've been diving in a few very remote regions of Indonesia .... and encountered masses of small particles of plastic in the sea.... an epidemic of plastic.


Here in NZ I have spent a lot of time on the seaside (in my shack) and never --- not once have I seen a scrap of plastic in the ocean.... I have trekked the bush and not once have I seen a piece of plastic (bag or otherwise) in the bush or in a stream. Nevuh.

Here... take a look ... no plastic ... crystal clear water


Don't get me wrong --- I do not have a plastic fetish..... Plastic is nasty stuff.... if we could do something about eliminating it from the ecosystem I would be all for it.....

However the plastic in the oceans in not caused by people in NZ ... or Canada ... or Europe... or the US.... these places all have proper rubbish collection ...

Up until recently we all send our plastic to China .... where they claimed to have used it to make plastic doodads.... that we'd purchase in Walmart.... that would end up in the landfill... and buried ... or sent back to China where more coal would be burned to make electricity ... to fashion the plastic into more doodads...

Now I have my doubts about that narrative.... because last year China stopped accepting plastic from overseas....

Now that's strange.... did China suddenly stop making doodads out of plastic???? So no need for them to accept plastic waste?

Me thinks.... (as I reach for my shiny tin hat).... the real picture just might be this:

We dutifully separate and stuff our plastic into a blue bin.... our tax money goes to pay for the pick up and processing of the plastic waste.... Chinese businesses get paid to accept this rubbish.... and they burn it.... which contributes to the toxic smog ...sometimes referred to as 'steam' by the authorities... that lingers over Hong Kong and China....

In recent years ... Chinese people have begun to question the 'steam' narrative.... and faced with the threat of another Boxer-type rebellion ..... the government decided to ban the importation and burning of plastic rubbish... to try to alleviate the smog.... they also have turned to burning more natural gas instead of coal....

All aimed at keeping the pitchforks in the cupboards...

And now that China has stopped burning our bags.... we are burning them ourselves (or burying it)

But I digress.....

At the end of the day ... our bags are not ending up in the rivers.... and oceans....

So who is responsible!!!!

Well I am here to tell you

90 percent of all the plastic that reaches the world's oceans gets flushed through just 10 rivers: The Yangtze, the Indus, Yellow River, Hai River, the Nile, the Ganges, Pearl River, Amur River, the Niger, and the Mekong (in that order).

These rivers have a few key things in common. All of them run through areas where a lot of people live — hundreds of millions of people in some cases. But what's more important is that these areas don't have adequate waste collection or recycling infrastructure. There is also little public awareness that plastic trash is a problem at all, so a lot of garbage, gets thrown into the river and conveniently disappears downstream.


Amazing .. Bali doesn't even make the Top 10 list .....

Getting back to my point .... yes plastic is a plague that is suffocating the planet.... but banning plastic bags at the grocery store .... well that's like sticking a plaster on a Marie Antoinette's neck after the executioner has lopped her head off....

But ... But.... it sure feels good to know that our governments are addressing the problem ... taking small steps in the right direction .... one can actually participate by using hemp sacks to haul groceries home (periodically filled with a roll of 30 plastic bin liners...)

The reality is .... that if we REALLY want to address the problem of plastic in the ocean .... we need to implement proper rubbish collection and disposal facilities for literally billions of poverty stricken areas of the planet where they are tossing their plastic into the ocean. We also need to be providing them with free hemp bags to replace plastic....

Sounds good .... let's Just Do It!

First we need to work out a budget .... here's the typical costs for rubbish disposal in the city of London:


London disposes of 22 million tonnes of rubbish per year ...

That's a city of 8 million ... we are talking about collection and disposal for billions of people...

My math is fuzzy.... I am thinking a budget of hundreds of billions per year to make an impact....

Let's call it 500 billion dollars. Or 100 billion... Or 10 billion.


Now we need to find the funds for this .... I suggest that every tax payer in the wealthy countries kick in $500 per year towards the Clean the Third World Fund....

Alternatively this cash could be taken from the health care... or education ... or some other budget... and we do with less....

Right ....I can see that with most people..... that is not going to fly ....

Which brings us back to the premise .... Plastic Bags as Scapegoats....

Ed 3 mths ago
Did I mention that plastic use is about to surge by over 40% in the coming years...


Or that that plastic bags are less than half a percent of all waste ....


I don't know what the solution is to this ... but without a doubt banning plastic bags at New World supermarket is akin to screaming into a hurricane 'STOP' and expecting calm....

However it does make us feel better ... kinda like how after charging up a few hundred dollars on food purchases... we toss some spare change into the charity box at the check out counter....

And is it not preferable that we feel better about such problems ... that we are doing our part..... rather than feel dismay?

Let's take a look at the martyr:


Ed 3 mths ago
And then there is this...

We worry about plastic bags.... but how many electronic devices does each of us have? Phone - laptop - desktop - tablet?

Perhaps we need to ban the sale of those devices ..... because when we dispose of them ... this is where they end up:

Some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth are entering the food chain in Ghana from illegally disposed electronic waste coming from Europe.

According to a new report by two environmental groups tracking the disposal of e-waste, chicken eggs from the Agbogbloshie slum in Ghana’s capital, Accra – where residents break up waste to recover metals – contain dangerous levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), among other harmful substances.

Researchers for the two groups, Ipen and the Basel Action Network, analysed eggs laid by the free-range chickens that forage in Agbogbloshie, home to an estimated 80,000 people who subsist primarily by retrieving and selling copper cable and other metals from e-waste.

The analysis revealed that an adult eating just a single egg in the Agbogbloshie scrap yard and slum would exceed the European Food Safety Authority limits on chlorinated dioxins 220 times over.

Other toxic chemicals were present in similarly worrying concentrations, including PCBs and fire-retardant compounds. Dioxins, in particular, are highly damaging even in small concentrations.




Ed 3 mths ago
We'll also need to ban the internet ...

Berkeley Lab: It Takes 70 Billion Kilowatt Hours A Year To Run The Internet (in America alone)

Seventy billion kilowatt hours is such a giant number that it’s helpful to put it into some other terms. For comparison purposes, 1 kwh is enough power to keep ten 100-watt lightbulbs illuminated for one hour, or to keep your smartphone charged for an entire year.

To generate 70 billion kwh you’d need power plants with a baseload capacity of 8,000 megawatts — equivalent to about 8 big nuclear reactors, or twice the output of all the nation’s solar panels.

Sliced up per capita, the average American uses about 200 kwh a year for his or her internet use, costing about $20. For those of you obsessed with carbon footprints, your internet use is responsible for the emission of about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.


Hang on.... we can't ban the internet.... I'd be out of a job!!!!

And come to think of it... if we banned electronic devices... that would also put me out of a job.

Let's just stick with banning plastic bags..... I doubt many people are employed making those anyway....

Ed 3 mths ago
Oh my.... look what I have found....

Exposing Australia’s recycling lie | 60 Minutes Australia

There is no doubt Australia is one of the most wasteful nations in the world, so the practice of recycling helps to lessen our guilt. As we drag our bins out for collection each week, we feel like we’re helping the environment.

But the reality is that we’re all being conned. Right now, Australia is stuck in an unsightly and worsening recycling crisis.

What is being done with plastic waste, the material most people think would be easy to salvage and re-use, is of the greatest concern. As Liam Bartlett discovers, most of it ends up either being buried or worse – exported to countries like Malaysia, a place we are now treating like a garbage bin.


Ed 3 mths ago
They're the World's Best Recyclers. Even They're Confounded by the Scourge of Plastic

Germans, as you might have guessed, take recycling extremely seriously.

The country typically ranks first in the world for collection rates. Austria comes second.

The world has rightfully become obsessed with plastic and the toll it takes on the environment. But as new plastic-related regulation gains traction—the European Union voted to ban 10 types of single-use plastics by 2021—there’s a question still dogging even the world’s best recycler:

Why do so many recycled plastic items still end up in the trash?

Germany collects virtually all of its plastic packaging for the purpose of recycling. But the actual recycling rates for that same packaging is just over 48%.

“That is the challenge,” says Dornack.

The trouble is, there are several types of plastic waste that are difficult to recycle. They usually end up alongside run-of-the-mill trash in landfills, despite well-meaning recycling efforts, according to the U.K.-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative.

The first is tiny pieces of plastic that can easily fall through the cracks (think: your soy sauce packet). Then there’s plastic that simply has too much food on it (think: your fast food container). Next is packaging made of materials that would have to be separated before they can be recycled (think: that crinkly chip bag).

Finally, there are products made from “uncommon” plastics—it’s not that they can’t be recycled, it’s just that there is not enough of it to make it economical. Plus, they contaminate all the other plastic (think: that blister pack of pills).

The economic problem, meanwhile, is two-fold: the recycling system itself must be paid for (in the U.S., many municipalities simply can’t afford it); and then—a conundrum that Germany’s facing—localities may produce more recycled material than companies want to buy.

Manufacturers are often turned off by recycled plastic because they perceive it to be of lower quality, Dornack says. They’d rather use “virgin” plastic, which is cheap, clean, and durable.


Ed 2 mths ago

The Crisis After China’s ‘No’

Recycling is more expensive than tossing items into the trash. In 2016, it cost New York City $18 per ton more to collect and process recyclables than to dispose of regular refuse.

Improper recycling adds to the cost. Just one pizza box in a cardboard recycling pile can ruin the whole batch, since oils in it can’t be separated from the paper fiber. Recycling plastics and electronics can be dangerous, exposing workers to serious health risks.

And there are natural limits. Paper can only be recycled five to seven times before the cellulose fibers become too short to be reused; most clear plastic bottles can’t be turned into new bottles.


Ed 2 mths ago
This BBC video confirms that the 60 Minutes spot exposed.... most plastic cannot be recycled.... and now that China is plastic ... it is instead being re-routed to Malaysia ... where it is burned ... or buried....

What really happens to 'recycling' plastic?

Many Japanese people who recycle their household plastic would be shocked to know where it ends up.


So globally ... we must be spending billions on separating plastic into our blue boxes... believing that the plastic is being recycled... when in reality .... it's being hauled away in trucks and shipped thousands of kms to be burned and buried.....


Ed 2 mths ago
Runaway consumption: 2tn drinks containers being used every year

Global sales of plastic and glass drinks bottles, cans and cartons are rising, report finds

People around the world are using almost 2tn plastic and glass drinks bottles, cans and cartons each year, according to research.

The findings, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), reveal that global sales of drinks containers are set to reach 1.9tn in 2019 – up from 1.6tn in 2015.


Ed 54 days ago
Five years on, Canada’s dumped garbage is still causing a big stink in the Philippines

Tonnes of rotting refuse have sat festering on the docks in the Philippines since arriving illicitly from Vancouver in 2013

Manila has repeatedly asked Canada to repatriate the rubbish, but Ottawa will only concede that it is ‘theoretically possible’




What is Duterte moaning about? This is a huge opportunity --- if China doesn't want to accept our golden trash and recycle it into plastic doo dads.... then the Phils should be pleased to be chosen to become the doo dad factory of the world.

Hundreds of thousand of jobs... tax revenue.... this could be the moment the Philippines has been waiting for!


In all seriousness... China is no longer accepting our trash ... yet China continues to manufacture plastic doo dads... one suspects that China was never recycling our plastic waste.... one suspects that China was burning it and burying it....

And now we are sending it to other countries --- with little or no environmental regulations .... who are willing to burn and bury it....

How many billions are being wasted globally on this epic fraud?

And is there a better solution?

Ed 53 days ago
Philippines' Duterte orders garbage shipped back to Canada

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered tonnes of garbage dumped in the Philippines years ago to be shipped back to Canada, his spokesman said Wednesday, but Ottawa announced arrangements to take back the offending cargo which led to a diplomatic row.

If Ottawa would not formally accept the shipment of trash it would be dumped inside Canada's territorial waters, Duterte's spokesman also warned.

The rubbish is stored in dozens of containers which a Canadian firm sent to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 -- ostensibly for recycling -- and the issue of what to do with it has rankled for years.

Last week Manila recalled its ambassador from Ottawa because Canada missed a May 15 deadline to repatriate the garbage.



Surely all this plastic could be recycled.... surely that was what China was doing with discarded plastic ... before they decided to no longer accept the world's rubbish....

Meanwhile... we diligently separate our waste... and spend billions globally to cart it away 'to be recycled' ... and it's all ending up in a giant pyre... or hole in the ground ... in Malaysia... the Philippines... or Africa....


Ed 53 days ago
The Xi'an government requires its residents to sort their waste into at least four categories - recyclable, hazardous waste, kitchen and other waste. Those who refuse to fulfill the obligation will be recorded under the personal credit system or will be fined up to 200 yuan ($28). -Global Times








You can't make this stuff up if you tried....

Ed 53 days ago
Group urges China to probe trash shipment from Hong Kong

China should investigate the entry of mixed plastic waste shipment from Hong Kong, environmental watch group EcoWaste Coalition said as it reiterated the Philippines is not a dumping site of trash from other countries.

While the issue of garbage from Canada remains unresolved, an attempt to bring mixed plastic scraps, shredded electronics and residual waste materials from Hong Kong was discovered by the Bureau of Customs.

“We denounce this latest attempt to bring into the country over 25 tons of mixed plastic waste from Hong Kong amid our nation’s ongoing efforts to send back similar illegal waste shipments from Canada and South Korea,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator, said Friday.


Ed 49 days ago
Who's behind the fraud?

A Cynical Strategy: Why the American Chemistry Council Spends Millions Promoting Plastic Recycling

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) spends millions to defend the chemicals produced by their members to make plastics. They have hired the same advisors who defended the tobacco industry to formulate a strategy to promote and defend the petrochemical industry.

If measured by the difficulty in passing legislation to curtail SUPs, and the positive press generated on the issue of plastic recycling, the strategy seems to be working.

At the center of ACC’s strategy is its promotion of recycling as the solution to plastic pollution. This band-aid approach allows the industry to look environmental while continuing with business as usual, making SUPs out of virgin — not recycled — petrochemicals.

The ACC knows well that only 5-7% of plastics are recycled, and that this figure will probably not grow substantially.

However, SUPs, the majority of plastics, are not designed to be recycled. Instead, SUPs are designed and promoted to be used on the go, and to be dumped whenever and wherever their contents are consumed.

Even if SUPs are discarded into a recycling container, they are often contaminated by food waste and rendered unsuitable for recycling, or made of a type of plastic that have no recycling infrastructure.

Spending relatively little on promoting recycling plastics offers a big public relations payoff with no real threat to an industry that earns billions pushing SUPs as the foundation of our throw-away consumer culture.

The ACC also knows that even if more plastics are recycled, there is not a big market for recycled plastic.

It is usually cheaper for manufacturers to use virgin petrochemical material.

Furthermore, the downgraded recycled by-product is routinely sent overseas to China, where it may also end up in a dump or incinerated, after the most recyclable fraction is “cherry picked” out. In short, recycling will never put the ACC members out of business.

All along Southern California beaches, the ACC is promoting recycling with slick advertisements adhered to trash — not recycling — cans. The ad covering the trash cans shows a young girl happily drinking from a plastic water bottle.

The text reads: “Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle.” The cans are routinely overflowing with SUPs. The rest of the SUPs can be found left behind in the sand and blowing around the parking lot if not already washing into the waves.


Ed 49 days ago
'Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world'

Malaysia will send back almost 3,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom in a move to avoid becoming a "dumping ground" for rich nations.

Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said on Tuesday that 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste were smuggled in en route to illegal processing facilities in Malaysia and will be sent back to their countries of origin.

Yeo said Malaysia, and many developing countries, have become new targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year.

"This is probably just the tip of the iceberg [due] to the banning of plastic waste by China," Yeo told a news conference.

'Huge garbage problem'

In one case alone, Yeo said, a British recycling company exported more than 50,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste in about 1,000 containers to Malaysia over the past two years.


Ed 46 days ago
Philippines ships 69 containers of dumped rubbish back to Canada

Tonnes of waste loaded onto ship after long campaign urging Canada to take it back; will reach Vancouver in 20 days.



Ed 29 days ago
U.S. Oil Demand Was Scorching Hot Last Year — but Gas-Guzzling SUVs Aren’t to Blame

BP's report also showed that demand in the "other" category grew at an even stronger 7.2% pace to 4.6 million BPD. That was due mainly to the completion of new petrochemical complexes domestically.

CP Chem, a joint venture between refiner Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) and oil giant Chevron (NYSE: CVX), was one of several companies that finished U.S. petrochemical expansion projects in early 2018. Phillips 66 and Chevron invested $6 billion into three facilities, one of which will crack ethane to produce 1.5 million metric tons of ethylene a year.

Ethylene is the most common building block for plastics, which is what the other two CP facilities will convert it into.


Ed 29 days ago
Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America's dirty secret

A Guardian report from 11 countries tracks how US waste makes its way across the world – and overwhelms the poorest nations

What happens to your plastic after you drop it in a recycling bin?

According to promotional materials from America’s plastics industry, it is whisked off to a factory where it is seamlessly transformed into something new.

This is not the experience of Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thắm, a 60-year-old Vietnamese mother of seven, living amid piles of grimy American plastic on the outskirts of Hanoi.

Outside her home, the sun beats down on a Cheetos bag; aisle markers from a Walmart store; and a plastic bag from ShopRite, a chain of supermarkets in New Jersey, bearing a message urging people to recycle it.

Tham is paid the equivalent of $6.50 a day to strip off the non-recyclable elements and sort what remains: translucent plastic in one pile, opaque in another.

A Guardian investigation has found that hundreds of thousands of tons of US plastic are being shipped every year to poorly regulated developing countries around the globe for the dirty, labor-intensive process of recycling. The consequences for public health and the environment are grim.

A team of Guardian reporters in 11 countries has found:

- Last year, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling were exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their own plastic waste.

- The newest hotspots for handling US plastic recycling are some of the world’s poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal, offering cheap labor and limited environmental regulation.

- In some places, like Turkey, a surge in foreign waste shipments is disrupting efforts to handle locally generated plastics.

- With these nations overwhelmed, thousands of tons of waste plastic are stranded at home in the US, as we reveal in our story later this week.


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