Is recycling broken?

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Manage episode 251938394 series 1301456
By BBC and BBC World Service. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
With countries shutting their doors to foreign recyclable waste and a lack of processing capacity back home, is the recycling system broken? China used to accept 55% of the world’s plastic and paper waste. But it closed its doors in 2018. Initially other countries in South East Asia, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam took over China’s waste processing role. But they too are now sending much of the waste back, arguing it is contaminated and is harming their own environments. This has created major problems for countries in the West who traditionally relied on others to process their recycling waste. In addition, there’s confusion about what households can and cannot put into their recycling bins, along with that lack of recycling capacity back home. So what is the answer to the growing mountains of what was supposed to be recyclable waste? Could Sweden, which has reduced the amount of household waste it sends to landfill to under one per cent, have an answer? It’s not one everyone agrees with. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: John Murphy (A man picks up plastic waste to be recycled at the Kawatuna landfill in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo credit: Basri Marzuki / Getty Images)

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