China's Operation Green Fence
Beijing has had enough. The Chinese have had enough. So, China has enough and had enough of the world's waste that is recyclable.
It's called Operation Green Fence and its purpose is to greatly reduce the world's recyclable material coming into China to be salvaged and make useful again. For years, China has literally been the world's trash dumping ground for many goods that can be stripped and reused in new products.
In fact, most Westerners do not know that whole villages or small towns are devoted to going through imported trash to sort out recyclable material from copper, metal, plastic, glass etc. Recently, the Chinese public and now its government have done this at the expense of the environment, which we all know, horrible in many places because of industrial waste and excessive use of chemicals. Thousands of fish have been dying, the air can be very hazardous to breath and the water is still contaminated even after being treated. Some villages in southern China sort only for certain items, like electronics.
The government has now restricted many items formerly allowed into China. America, unlike other countries, relied heavily of China to get rid of its waste. Americans tossed 32 million tons of plastic of all forms. Recycling in the US only came to one million tons, that left 15 tons that was shipped to China is large shipping containers. Also, 50% of the electronics waste is also shipped to China.
After 30 years of being the largely "American" garbage waste dump, China is severely curtailing it. Chinese are rejecting waste that does not meet their more stringent guidelines or simply not accepting it before being shipped out of the US. The new rules are creating chaos as dumps are now having to deal with it. Since February, 2013, even European waste shipped to China has been rejected and returned.