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One Planet: China says no to America's recyclable waste


On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’re discussing China’s new policy to ban 24 types of recyclable waste including plastics, unsorted scrap paper, and textiles. For over 20 years, China has been the top destination for the trash Americans throw in recycling bins.

In 2016, the US exported 16 million tons of waste to China, worth about $5.2 billion. What does the ban mean? And how can we improve our recycling systems?



Kate O’Neill, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, and author of the forthcoming book, Waste

Paul Giusti, community and government affairs manager at Recology

Web resources:

The New York Times: Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling


The Conversation: Will China’s crackdown on ‘foreign garbage’ force wealthy countries to recycle more of their own waste?


PRI: Mountains of US recycling pile up as China restricts imports


The New York Time: San Francisco, ‘the Silicon Valley of Recycling’


Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.