Where does your recycling go? In most places in the U.S., you throw it in a bin, and then it gets carted off to be sorted and cleaned at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). From there, much of it is shipped off to mills, where bales of paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic are pulped or melted into raw materials. Some of these mills are here in the U.S. And once upon a time, many of them were in China.
Since 2001, China was one of the biggest buyers of American recycling. That is, until last year, when China pulled a move that no one saw coming: they stopped buying.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety: nine percent invisible,
I'm roman Mars,
These. Thank you. Your bugs
me. Take you back back to assume,
the year twenty sixteen, but is this so
recycle centre. All this is the large recycling plant where we sort of the materials from the blue in the bottles cans. The paper.
In twenty sixteen producer, a breach of men, was working on a story about garbage and recycling pick up systems its episode to thirteen, don't worry,
This is not a re run. This story is different back then, for that story and twenty
fifteen. I took a tour of the plant that sorts all of San Francisco's recycling. Where do six hundred tons a day here. That's Robert Reed, the representative for San Francisco Recology, which is the company that is responsible for San Francisco's recycling program, their trucks round up all the recycling around the city and bring it to a mer
Mirth, immoral, F materials, recovery facility at the mirth, the Chuck stamp. All the recycle,
into a big mountain, and then the wild part begins. This particular mirth in San Francisco has
All this elaborate machinery that looks like it's out of a mere Aki movie.
Recycling superstructure three stories High Party shortly invariably
Start up, I'm going to sort all this material here into sixteen different types of material. This three story tall superstructure,
one hundred seventy three people that we are working on it, we're separating and cleaning the recycling sorting into glass, paper, plastic, etc separate.
The nation of and sorting and modern recycling and women.
Modern recycling equipment like the optical sworder that can automatically separate different color plastics year. Theatres, looking material,
does it come by and when it sees a clear plastic like a clear plastic water bottle and hits it with a puff of air, and you can hear it
It is spent
us three million dollars in this regime, and it came from the Netherlands and at the time
in twenty. Sixteen when I was younger and things were simpler, I quite grasp the simple fact they weren't actually recycling anything. They were not turning the paper into pulp or melting down the plastic into
helots. The Murph was simply sorting and cleaning all the materials there alone.
In bales of clean recycling onto shipping containers, so they could seldom Tamils. Who would then pulp the paper and melt the plastic, and I was just like ok, cool and left well enough alone.
Disfigured all those mills and plants would always be there wherever they were waiting to accept our stuff.
How could I have known that in the near future, this global recycling system would go off the rails,
It happened right under our noses and most people recently me no very recently had no idea using the phase
using the phrase the end of recycling as we know it, Cato
as an associate professor and the Department of Environmental Science policy and management at you see Berkeley and she can affect me out.
Yeah. You know I would say for a lot of stuff that we turn to the recycling. It's not happening.
A lot of recycling is no longer actual.
Getting recycled the lists of exit
Did materials are shrinking and some cities
pending on where you live. Certain types of plastic aren't being collected anymore me,
these certain kinds of paper cardboard in May
the community's buckle down? That's a stopgap recycling of just just another yeah does in the general trash, even if they do collected
without a hard time finding places to ship it. Instead of making money, selling recycling recycle
Companies are losing money on it. Now
paying someone to take it just store? Yes, because they lost their biggest buyer, the place America
and much of Australia and Europe and Canada sent a huge amount of our recycling
magical land where your empty plastic bottles and old soup cans went to be, reincarnated was China, they were taking, must have allowed scrap.
China had been taking most of the world's scrap since about two thousand one, which is wrong
The time China joined the World Trade Organisation
That's what they really wrapped up: selling goods all over the world in massive shipping containers and rather than send the containers back empty, we sent them back filled with recycling, which was actually really cost effective
cheaper to ship scrap from California to China, then California, to even Arizona potentially and this system seem to work well. Cities could subsidized their recycling pickup.
Programmes from the money they made selling these materials to China, and then they didn't need to process the materials themselves. Capitalism at work we basically outsourced. We gave up on even trying to improve infrastructure
because with trip to china- and it seemed like a logical system as long as China kept wanting to buy our recycling, but then
China pulled a move that no one saw coming operation.
a pretty aggressive name for a piece of recycling legislation. Basic
National sword is China's ban on the import of foreign recyclables. It start
Twenty thousand and eighteen and the list of banned items steadily grown it
The potential of banning all recyclable materials by twenty twenty we don't have.
What happened or not? It's hard to
point exactly why China got fed up with this system. All the sudden. There are a number of factors you can point to, but a lot of experts think it's because of a movie. This China
this documentary called plastic China by
Rector Rongji lost faith in democracy.
It focuses on this insanely cute little girl, whose family works at a plastic recycling facility
she never get sent to school because he's helping her parents,
Watch her younger, siblings and sort through mountains of shredded plastic, their cutting up plastic melting, it soaking
and turning it into a sludge and then turning that into hardened pellets.
The little girl washes her face and the gray plastic he water and its fish, that of choked on plastic.
This family lives with the shredding machine they eat,
sleep near it.
Telling the dust and micro particles that come off during the shredding process. The fumes from the melting process there's a lot of bad stuff there and all the plastic
it's all clearly from western countries
Little girl, longingly cuts out shoes from discarded European catalogue and gleefully plays with dirty old
the greens of Mickey mouse. It is absolutely heartbreaking,
and it broke a lot of hearts on the International Film Festival Circuit and then
also shown in China for awhile and click on the internet there, but the governments certain yanked it from
chinese internet, and while I we can't keep doing less, this did really negative. Yes, yes, I believe it did.
Causation or correlation. It was after this documentary that China Institute
operation, national sword,
China realised that they needed to crack down on these informal recycling plants and build safe, efficient recycling systems.
To improve their own domestic recycling rates and their cities and towns that a lot of work to do
and they have more than enough staff to recycle without taking on more from other countries. So they
headed to stop accepting our recyclables would mean fair enough
good move for them. I think China
no longer interested in being what never really wanted to pay, but felt like it was being seen as the garbage dump of world
you know it's not its responsibility to taken all about trash got a point, and so now you, your blinking into the cold harsh light of twenty nineteen national sword, has been an action for about a year. Now some people,
a crisis. Others. No, my Lord crisis by that sort where we are
I got a little buried in the new cycle. That is, unless you are a dedicated reader of waste dive,
This is trade publication. We cover the waste recycling industry just generally the future of what happens to materials we line throw away.
Cole rose and grant. Is the senior editor
and reading waste I've.
Reading the news from upside down
The parallel world, where the things we do in the realm of the shiny new are perfectly reflected in the
Amy and used because
systems are affected by so many factors: local resources, global policy, packaging and product trends, new material technology on and on its a whole complex system, especially in the. U S super complicated,
so more complicated than it not to be in the United States. Recycling programmes vary depending on individual cities.
Counties and states. We don't have a national recycling policy, other countries dune
ready ways renew ass. We do not so in the
wake of national sword. It's been up to each individual recycling programme to find new buyers wherever they can.
Some have started selling their recyclables to South EAST Asia. Countries like Vietnam,
I'm in Malaysia and Thailand. Others are
finding domestic markets, at least for certain materials, with a woman with plastic in paper mills in others, there are places in the. U S to send us that will bind this material to making proper
with it, and so with that in mind, areas of the country that have an end market in reasonable distance, they don't. Okay, and now there
big pushed to invest more in domestic recycling infrastructure, which is good NEWS
but here's the thing all these new plastic, glass and paper mills will not save us.
All these new plastic, glass and paper mills will not save us back
putting their own restrictions on what kinds of materials their willing to accept
we putting their own restrictions on what kinds of materials they are willing to accept.
A good reason why all these places started turning away our recycling
the stuff we been sending them to dirty. So much of what we throw into their cycling been is filthy, contaminated with liquid or food waste oil, and this
and of contamination, just ruins the material. So if you're, the anal one in your house was rinsing, the yogurt out of the Euro containers before you throw em out, you are right, you are doing it right, but
People haven't been doing it right,
The contamination roads have been pretty high in the risen in the past ten years or so as well
A lot of the stuff we were throwing in the recycling been was never truly recyclable material. In the first place it was just trash,
a lot of time. It just ended up in landfill or incineration,
operation. National sword didn't create these problems. It just revealed them and then through them back at us, well mostly through them at the mercy they're, the ones with the heaps and heaps of useless recycling, piling up and wondering where to put it,
wait. A minute simply spoke last things that have so I checked backin with Robert read the representative of San Phronsie.
Recalling who showed me around their plant back in the good old days, a twenty succeed,
last lots of things. If you lose your biggest customer, it really upsets the Apple cart Red explained that now, in the
new buyers. Market mills are only accepting the most easily recyclable items, which means the items that are almost perfectly pure and
mean, those efforts under way to reduce liquids in any food scraps in recycling bids and sorrow.
Quality has been investing more and more and sorting and cleaning technology to make sure they can keep selling, which means they bought more optical sorters, as we speak, were installing state of the art optical sorters. In our plant that came from France, they now have seven high speed computer controlled optical sorters. These big
Robert machines that do the work that we don't want to do, but also the Murphy want us, the consumers to send them cleaner recycling, which would make recite
leaned less expensive and more efficient for everyone or doing things to encourage the public to help us make cleaner, bales oversight,
and so we launched a new initiative in October called better at the been the key to success is all about doing a better job of sorting I recyclable. We call this initiative better at the ban. Were colleges posting these
I production value videos on their social media and on better at the bend outcome to try to convince everyone.
Take these little steps to be better recyclers. If I have a bottle, I can't get tossing the recycling bear. The liquid can run the whole lot
remember, reduce, reuse, recycle,
somewhere along the way we totally lost track of reduce and reuse and focused too much on recycle.
Single use, plastic, straws, plastic bags and plastic coffee cup with don't buy plastic water bottles, carry a metal water bottle, replace plastic. Yes, this is one hundred percent. True we definitely
I've got to get better about generating less waste and cleaning,
we do recycle, but this alone is simple
buying the real complexity of the problem. For example, at the end of the interview, Robert Red,
pulled out a totally normal. Looking too with toothpaste, you can't recycle this container
But you still have the metal on the inside the soft plastic on the outside the hard plastic neck and cap and residual toothpaste on the inside, not to mention the printing. This four or five materials
and they all go to landfills are incinerators, and then he pulled
the small aluminum case, an opening
up inside those a cake of toothpaste, the dry cake, and it lasts for forty five days and at the end of those forty five days you just drop another
into the aluminum jar.
You buy them in the states.
I have been able to find them in the states, yet this one was purchased in France. This struck me as fairly ridiculous. How
the supposed to buy cakes of toothpaste from France that we don't know exist and is not like. Shipping. Toothpaste across the Atlantic is exactly environmentally friendly. Again,
absolutely true. We need to get better at using less and cleaning recycling and researching what our local systems will accept. Definitely, but like we throw out a lot of junk because we are stalled.
Out of junk. So much of this problem is about the products we are sold and have access to justice.
Set up with the way that we talk about our pollution problem. Matt looking
as a biologist, and he were to peace forces.
Anti american about our current recycling mess. We should not have to fight
as individuals against this constant onslaught of classic take. For example,
Herman Litter, bug
Maybe a little bag right in a litter
Alexander problem, it's not the fact that
this unfettered production of billions of containers happening at all times, and no infrastructure to reclaim this materials that nickname litter bug it was.
Popularized in large part by group called keep America beautiful this lobbying groups and keep Amerika beautiful founded by you, know patchy and cold
and Philip Morris, among others, keep America beautiful was formed in nineteen, fifty three
around the same time. Vermont was creating legislation way ahead of its time. It would have
Is it illegal to bottle anything in a non refundable container and, of course the beverage industry was against it. They wanted
framed the problem of waste as something that should be dealt with, not by companies but by consumers. You know little books
keep America beautiful, was essentially a lobbying group, but its master stroke
in consumer, shaming, came in nineteen, seventy one when they rolled out a very persuasive advertising campaign,
he had the crying Indian add, was basically
there's a native american canoeing through like a pristine forest which is apparently right next to a highway, and he
He paddles right up to the bank of the highway and climes out, and then people are speaking by and then motorists lightly
We had some with a bag of trash and then the camera pans up
the two rolling down his cheek, this add which come
featured and italian actor playing a native American became iconic. But its basic lesson wasn't
tackling wrong, but the had made it seem that so long as consumers stop littering all of our garbage woes would be solved, which of course, is not true.
It led the corporations that were making all those disposable items off the hook. Although to be
air. This is not exactly their stance anymore
a few years after that, crying Indian add keep America
beautiful change their tune, so they actively fight
this legislation and a public way? I think, up until the early eighties, and then they can a switch tactics and have basically sense. Then, just
kind of getting in on the earth day. Push and you're telling people
cycle and organizing cleanups and staff representatives.
Keep America beautiful, told me that they now advocate recycling legislation and that their corporate partners want to do their part these,
is especially in the shadow of national sword, corporations and governments have had to acknowledge the scale of our recycling problem in a very public way
were gathered here today to advance solutions to today's recycling challenges at the that's: the Voice of Andry Wheeler, former coal industry lobbyists and current acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in November of ten
Eighteen, the EPA convened a two hour long panel discussion in an attempt to attempt to deal with the follow up.
From national sword. We cannot tackle
challenges alone, which is why we are thrilled to have representatives from nearly
every aspect of the materials economy gathered here today.
American Starbucks and develop I've seen doktor pepper.
However, on the same room together and I'm really glad you're here, keep America beautiful is there and coal rose and grain was also there in the room covering for waste. I've seen this EPA summit. We do something
beautiful was there and coal rose and grand was also there in the room covering it for waste. I've seen this EPA summit
we do somethin. I bade the beasts of weapon about that any maybe it does now because, basically, each
preventative had like less than one minute to speak, and everyone mentioned a million different problems with our recycling system. But there was this butterfly at the bottom of Pandora's box.
This common refrain that companies recyclers municipalities, alike,
all mentioned. Consumers look
for us to give them sustainable products. We need to think about the future of packaging and we have to design a railway. Yes,
Commissioner, one of the most important solutions to our recycling woes, my actual
lay in design at the EPA meeting, the representative from Procter and gamble
about their award winning container made out of plastic cleaned up from the beach. What we do
head and shoulders bottle was we took the iconic white bottle? We use plastic collected from beaches and became grey
but we sold it that way and consumers bought it. Ok,
This was a limited edition product and I could you not.
It was only available in France, Dammit France, but the point is that kind of packaging is possible. These companies have the capacity and the technology and we can
ask for it. I think another thing that we can do is demand better design of everything with the end of life planned from the beginning
That weakens the biologist again and better does
I can mean a couple of things? Yes,
in finding new ways to use recycled materials like that grey, head and shoulders bottle, or at the very least it can be, making products really easy and efficient to recycle. Everything should be able to break down into its composite materials and support
them in a way that doesn't introduce impurities, so they can be used again and
and we can and should visit manoeuvres and mills
They should know how their products and packaging sort or don't sort when they break down or don't breakdown designers.
Also use biodegradable materials or material.
Like aluminum, that recycle more easily than plastic, but the ideal thing is to design products or even parts of products that don't need to be thrown away at all is down,
product design and that you'd design things that can be repaired like yours to Russia's with detachable hasn't
tackling yeah and cell phones that you can.
Components in and out of the Berkeley? Professor kid?
Neil says yes, companies.
To design greener products, but then the next step is that these shouldn't just be specialty items that should be the norm
I guess people have the label on it, so people who are environmentally conscious will buy it, but it tons
but it might mean that people who don't care want by it. Well, so it seems that this could a paradox:
saying, like you know, don't blame that consume
there's a whole world of influences, but also like it's up to us to harness the power of capitalism.
And then the market, too, are our will as as people who spend money yet, which also, which also seemed like it's going on. It's kind of back on the consumer now well. Some of that also think it's not just consumers, but how we act. The citizens.
So listen in the course of researching the story had various freak out at one point I was
Finally tossing my aluminum cans and the trash like wake up people,
cycling is a real, but that's not quite true, like don't do what I did instead ask around and
now what is happening to the recycling where you live?
This is a system that has been kept deliberately invisible for the sake.
We need to learn how to notice it and really think about how our stuff is made and where it's going, when we throw it away,
Operation. National sword could be a wake up call, but only if everyone can hear
ok, you might be sceptical that design can really make a difference in recycling, but I assure you it can not just product design, but systems designed to, for example,
I pay the capital of Taiwan,
became one of the cleanest cities in the world in only a few years by using singing garbage trucks that full story. After this, we often don't think of winter as a time of growth or creation. But if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website gives recouped job you thinkin about being productive, and now square space can help you do it whiskers basic into your cool ideas. You ve creative content, your services, goods and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks has begun
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At the top of the show, I reference in episode that Avery reported back and twenty sixteen. We called it separate
an anxiety, people really loved it. So if you missed it back, then here it is now enjoy.
If you can recognize any piece of classical music. I bet it's this one. This is pure
these written by Ludwig Van Beethoven in eighteen, ten
maybe it reminds you of piano lessons you too, when you were a kid in my town, it was also the song, the eighth coon check used to play
producer Avery trouble. But if you
in Taiwan, and you hear
a crumbling down the street playing fearless
doesn't mean it's time to buy a popsicle. It means its
I am to take out your trash because this
is what a garbage chuck in Taiwan sounds like.
garbage, Chuck song, isn't just supposed to be cute in fun, although it is also supposed to be cured in fun,
the singing garbage drugs
all a part of a completely different way of thinking about waste disposal completely different. That is from the way that we think about it. In the United States. In the late Nineteenth NEWS, Taiwan recycled only five percent of its works. Today, Taiwan recycles well over half the count,
He is now among the world's top recyclers in what she
changed in this period has a lot to do with the way that the trash is collected. Ok fear
This isn't the only song the trucks play in Taipei. The cap,
Taiwan. The trucks also play this zone.
A maidens prayer by polish composer. Tickler buttresses got baroness got an intact.
A city. The garbage chucks just alternate between these two songs they take tears. It implied, is to sounds to music. They ain T pay city,
a couple of decades ago, Taipei residents through their trash into massive smelly dumpsters on the streets, garbage
garbage would end up in piles on the sidewalk and in parks. It would faster in the heat, knows, just nasty, then Taiwan's
cancer. We were here than at an end and then down now the singing garbage trucks or such a part of life. It's hard to imagine a time before them, but that time
Wasn't too long ago, we use.
Have a lot big downstairs, so they were, however, alot of rats mosquitos and things like that and is not good for our house just a couple of decades.
Taipei residents, through their trash into massive smelly dumpsters on the streets garbage
would end up in piles on the sidewalk and in parks who had faster in the heat knows just now,
Hosty, then Taiwan's democratization accelerated in the mid nineteen eighties and created this desire to tidy up being a modern country, means being a clean
country, and when you have foreign visitors coming in visiting your Kapital, they shouldn't think O. This plus a study
This is Mary Alice who died chair of EAST,
studies at Wesleyan University in
Taiwan, the pro democracy movement got fully into
gold with the environmental movement, and so as all those things move together,
late eighties, early nineties, then the Prodi marker,
see and pro environment agendas got onto the public consciousness
Also, the environmental movement had a practical and Taiwan was running out of space to actually put piles of trash because it's a small island,
an extremely populous small island, there's not that much space where it if you're gonna stick all your junk, whereas in the United States there has been historically a sense of thee, untamed untapped, endless, wilder
and you could just throw your junk into the wilderness and would go away. You wouldn't have to worry about anymore, not true in Taipei, topics Hetty, but it's really clean and subways a clean and stores or clean and the sidewalks clean, and it's really pleasant,
be there. You never know that the city used to have piles of garbage littering the streets
they pay and a number of other taiwanese cities reduce them.
To trash by changing the way the trash got collected
look I'm a this is my friend ERA Newport. She lives in Taipei, where the garbage struck comes five nights a week evenings like after what comes Monday, Tuesday, authors
They Friday and Saturday. Errands neighbourhood trucks come twice in the evening at five and seven together, trash like once a week on one of the best
I usually one- I mean it's kind of hard, sometimes to find the time to always be home over seven.
It has to gather her own garbage in recycling and bring it out to a designated street corner and wait for the big yellow truck to come, but an ear perks for the sound,
their release or maidens prayer coming down the block. Basically, this is a boundless system or a garbage capitalist system. Your trash goes right from your house to the truck idea,
without ever touching the street you just
to bring out your garbage in a special bag? I pay my garbage Phil purchasing these blue Taipei City. Garbage bag
these official blue, garbage bags, say city of type, hey on them and each isn't
isn't with assistance. I buy them
the convenience store across the
official blue garbage bags come in a number of different sizes, ranging from three leaders to one hundred and twenty leaders, so the more garbage throw away the mortal costume and others
I pay residents have to pay for their garbage by the bag. Recycling and compost are free. You don't need to buy bags for them.
You can just take out your recycling in not official plastic bags, and you can do
great as much compost and recycling as you'd, like so rare,
dense or incentivize to recycle, more and throw out less.
Erin sort out all of her recyclables into perfect categories he's at Cannes,
cans and bottles, so we have a few t bottles, so we
I pay. Every yellow garbage truck is followed by a small white. Recycling truck was basically a cart full of different bend. Has it been for plastic bottles, one for glass, bottles, different metals and cans papers and cardboards, an accomplice bucket for raw food waste, an account
this bucket for cooked food waste. Taipei residents have to sort their recycling into all these different categories themselves, although in the white recycling trucks there are officials and volunteers who can help instruct you about which item goes where
so Erin her housemaids an I got all of her bags of trash and different kinds of recycling sorted out, and then we walked about a block down the street to wait with the rest of her neighbours,
who were all clutching. Official blue garbage live people gathered here, sentences, maybe larger than your average, and
a moment we were waiting for
there was this mad dash people swarming to the school bus, yellow, garbage truck and the white recycling truck or guy
passing it in swiftly tossing their separate reset,
the in the bins tossing their blue bags and the garbage truck and running away. It was madness like
extremely well organised madness. I was
ok I'll take in this
system for all its chaos has been working capacity
is to produce three thousand two hundred and ninety six tonnes of trash a day to day the city.
Produces about one thousand tonnes a day. That is according to ten, which is one of sixty five officials who supervise the garbage checks and their rights. I met
At a garbage, pickup say where Jasmine Wong acted as interpreter every step.
TAT, an easy supervisor in history
Chen overseas, twenty garbage truck routes and all those too
We have to make sure that citizens are sorting properly every day by day,
Guy tree the recycling bad.
People here we aren tell them daddy.
Can I do that?
What I otherwise see you I get ticket and how much is the ticket
Two hundred? U S dollars
but that's the maximum bid, think
such a drag there must be,
people who buck the system by tossing their trash into public trash cans. Well, there
Hardly any public trash cans in Taipei. There only
in train stations or at bus stops, and those are little. They come up just below your knees so and type.
For the most part. If you eat a candy or by a coffee, you just take your empty coffee cup or your canny wrapper, put it in your pocket and bring it home. It's your trash that you put in your blue bag and bring out
the truck yourself. It's hard to imagine a system like this working here in the: U S,
Every city here has a different method of trash pick up, but across the board to unite.
The fact is that our american trash pick up system strive to be invisible. The trucks make good
efforts to come when we're working or sleeping trying to sleep
you ve been out of the way of traffic and not disturbing the flow of the city?
Take our trash and recycling out two beds or down issued or to a dumpster, and it's gone. We don't have to think about it. According to the EPA
Americans are cycle and compost about thirty four percent of their trash, which is less than most rich countries,
But some american cities do a lot better. Chairman Cisco has promised for
recycling programme in North America. This is Robert Reed he's the representative of ecology, the company that takes care of San Francisco waste recycling and compost.
Unlike Taipei, which has a public trash, pick up system many wasted
services in the. U S are private companies and we
the customers, that's how it works with recalled
which means they ve gotta, keep their customers happy number one focuses to provide superior customer service and our necks focus is to do as much recycling as pie.
The war and to make recycling easy and convenient for customers,
Ecology has set up similar incentives to the system in Taipei, where trash pickup is way more expensive than recycling or compost. Pickup
for example, in San Francisco, recycling and compost cost about
dollars. A month per been trash is about twenty six dollars a month per been, but above all, ecology system is meant to be simple and stress free. It has to be. If you want people to keep
paying for your service. People have a lot of demands in their lives. We understand that new recycling might not be. The very first
they got the gotta, make their boss happy, they get up
their mortgage garbage recycling
composting may not always be at the top of the list. We understand that
Basically, instead of putting the onus on the citizens to separate the different kinds of compost and recycling for themselves, reality does the brunt of the work sorting. So we don't have to say
Cisco, like a lot of other american cities that collect recycling uses one catch all recycling been, so you throw your cancer bottles. Your cardboard
all in the same place and then all those different materials end up in a facility like recycle central. So this is recycled centre all this as they are large recycling plant on per ninety six, where we sort of materials from the blue in the bottles cans with paper
we're gonna go inside now the facility is massive and its way recalling processes most of San Francisco recycling see great big pile of recycling. This is from this morning from one day and we're gonna get the sorted out because we got another big pile
coming in tomorrow. So would you six hundred tonnes a day here that six hundred tonnes pile will wind its way up a huge surreal web of conveyor belt, where some of
The one hundred and seventy three people on staff will separate the recyclables into sixteen categories of materials with the help of some modern recycling equipment. So we got a magnet said. We have fish ladders, that separate bottles and cans
paper their honour their on an angle and they temporarily suspend gravity.
And to make sure everything gets precisely sordid. There's some real state of the art technology like this apparatus that separates clear plastic from color plastic with optics sensors.
Rainier the scanners looking at the materials they come by and when it sees a clear plastic like a clear plastic water bottle and hits it with a puff of air, and you can hear it
its Spencer, because three million dollars for this regime
announced, its very costly and that's true. If you're using these single stream processes,
worrying twirling, conveyors and magnets and machinery, and a hundred seventy three employees. Its dazzling, makes less trash.
I doing more cycling and recycling creates ten times more jobs than landfilling or incineration.
It also takes all the direct sorting out of the hands of the people who actually create the waste and charges them for the service. Instead, as a result.
Recycling in the. U S can be expensive. I guess that's part of the problem linked to the extent that there's push back in recycling which have seen some of the United States now is often about the cost of air.
It's very costly and that's true. If you're using these single stream processes about suffragette and its less true of the household does the separated
That's professor Mary Alice Hoddan. Again,
The community wants to recycle all that stuff. It's too,
separated and sordid. Somehow
whether you use a three million dollar machine from the Netherlands or compel an entire sweet potato shaped island of people to stand on the corner at night. The Taipei system is cheap and efficient, because the city has conscripted their citizens as workers, and it's been successful type, has a great example of a big major global metropolitan area that did not have a good garbage collection system. Not that long ago,.
And they have completely transformed, and it could be an example for us all, which is not to say we should necessarily copy Taipei and system. What's work for them, my network, for the? U S,
but consider the american garbage struck creeping around
and at dawn or during work hours, trying to be as in conspicuous as possible, trying to keep trash out of sight and out of mind you don't really pay attention to it by everyone should
hey a lot of attention. If we had to watch our garbage pile up in our homes without taking it out to the band and had to set aside time in our days to catch the garbage and recycling trucks coming down the street, I bet we produce less drunk, but
I think if I had to hear the sound twice and I find this week- I win murder, everybody
You, like that story there like three hundred more episodes, just like it in the archives. Even if you read the description of the title, you think I'm not really into that download it and listen to it anyway, because the show is about making a.
Things interesting. So take the leaf go for it,
many represent a visible was proves this week by every problem in mixing,
production by. She refuses music by shown real Katy,
Google is the senior producer. Kirkwall state is the digital director, the is senior editor Delaney Hall and it concerns,
turn: Mass Joe Rosenberg, Vivian, Lee Sophia, Clatter and me roman Mars. Special thanks to Zoe Heller, the policy director of cow, Recycle, Noah, Omen and Randy Hartman, keep America beautiful the Eu Wide Greenpeace and who repression for sounding the alarm about the problem we talked about in the first part of this episode by setting
her ASEAN Atlas of Foreign garbage, while the link on the website
we are products of ninety one point: seven k a w in San Francisco and produced on radio row in beautiful, downtown, Oakland, California,
many members and invisible as a member of Radio Toby from directs a fiercely independent collective of the most innovative shows in a pot casting find more radio utopia done at them
you can find a show in joint discussions about the show on Facebook and Twitter me roman Mars, and the show at ninety nine b or run Instagram tumblr and read it to, but of hearing that great episode from twenty. Sixteen me, you think I'm gonna go back and listened more. The older shows real, that's good thinking when we got to cover all the
it is nine pm downward
Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.