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Myth or fact: waste export to China

China buys plastic scrap from the U.S., recycles it, makes finished goods and ships the finished products right back to the United States. We've all heard this story, right?

"It's not the case," said Patty Moore, president of Moore Recycling Associates Inc. in Sonoma, Calif.
Speaking at a Jan. 27 online seminar hosted by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, Moore said most of the plastic waste that China imports and recycles ends up in goods sold in China.
The reasons are most quality-related, such as color consistency. Imported scrap is a good source of lower-cost feedstock to serve China's domestic population.
But even China is raising their bar on the quality of scrap, because workers there now demand better working conditions for hand-sorting jobs in the recycling industry, Moore said. During her tours of recycling firms in China, she saw things that are not "up to spec" and that would make OSHA "appalled."
"Low-quality bales will not be wanted in China," she said. "U.S. needs to deal with our own waste...Don't take garbage to have someone else deal with it."



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