Last year, China stopped taking most foreign recyclables. Previously, 40 percent of the United States’s paper, plastics, and other recyclable materials were sent there. Beijing’s decision threw U.S. recycling into a crisis that reaches from global political decision-making all the way down to what we decide to put into our blue bins. This lecture draws on O’Neill’s new book, Waste, to talk about why we got into this predicament, why Beijing made its decision to stop being the “world’s waste dump,” and what it means for how - and whether - we recycle in the future. Is banning straws and bags the right thing to do? Or do we need to find better ways to recycle plastics and other household trash? These answers are not so simple but they matter to us all.
Speaker: Kate O'Neill, UC Berkeley
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