China’s Role in Global Recycling

Recently, the NBC News segment “Growing Number of Cities Suspending Recycling Programs Over Rising Costs” showed the example of Casa Grande, Arizona as indicative of a downward trend prevalent among American cities.

Photo by zibik on Unsplash

The segment describes how cities are struggling to finance and maintain curbside recycling programs, especially now that China has stopped buying these materials. It also hints at how and why the end of such programs is problematic. Amid concerns about climate change, there is a real need to recycle, now more than ever.

This is yet another example of substituting Conventional Wisdom (CW) for Knowledge Based Decision-Making (KBDM). CW advocates surmise that dumping our garbage in landfills and sites outside of town must be a good solution. That’s the way it has been done for centuries. KBDM Advocates learn from scientific studies that landfills eventually emit toxic substances and dangerous bacteria into our air and our drinking water. They learn that people who live near landfills or former dump sites are statistically more prone to disease than those who don’t. They also learn of the relationship between methane gas and global warming that scientists claim is the root cause of global climate change. Armed with this information and the knowledge that landfill sites are a major emitter of methane gas, they make recycling decisions that may not be popular but may save thousands of lives in the future.

Could it be that the Chinese Government is gradually making decisions based on verified knowledge, while we are still operating from conventional wisdom?

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J J Zavada

Global Village Observer: I journal the disruption of socio-economic systems caused by our transition from the Industrial Park to the Global Village .