Stop Shipping Recyclable Waste Overseas

Plastic landfill

Target: Stephanie Adrian, Office of International and Tribal Affairs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Process recycling waste in the U.S. rather shipping it overseas to China

Just last year, over 40% of scrap and recyclable waste in the United states was sent overseas, and China became the biggest purchaser of it. However, China recently developed an environmental initiative, known as Operation Green Fence, because the country is understandably tired of receiving non-recyclable trash from other countries. As a result, customs officials are conducting more thorough inspections of recyclable materials to sift through garbage that  sneaks into recycling containers. These in-depth inspections are costly, time consuming, and creating a backlog of unusable trash.

The United States needs to develop local markets, rather than shipping waste overseas, so our recyclable materials don’t end up in landfills. We must stop relying on other countries to handle our garbage for us. China has more of our trash than they know what to do with, and we need to take responsibility for our own waste.

The simple answer to the Chinese government’s rejection of our scraps is to stop buying items made in China. Since plastic far outweighs all other items in our landfills, more items should be made from recyclable light-weight aluminum, especially electronics. Sign the below petition to urge the Environmental Protection Agency to work with innovative environmental engineers to develop an effective waste and recycling management system here at home.

[gravityform id=1 name=Signthe Petition: ajax=false]


Dear Ms. Adrian,

China is fed up with dealing with our waste and the Operation Green Fence initiative demands that we find something else to do with our recyclable and non-recyclable waste. The United States has become dependent upon other countries to develop recycling strategies that process our trash. This is irresponsible of us and unfair to these countries, especially China. Most Americans like to recycle because it makes them feel like they are doing something good for the environment, but only if it doesn’t require much effort. If China can’t handle recycling our bales of mixed papers and plastics, then our country must rise to the challenge.

I am urging you to support policies that require the purchase of recycled content products to facilitate a buy-recycled loop. Please work with innovative environmental waste companies to take personal responsibility, reduce shipping costs, and prevent recyclable materials from ending up in foreign landfills.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Samuel Mann via Flickr

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