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99% Invisible: National Sword

Throughout much of the US, recycling bins have become a ubiquitous partner to trash cans in homes, businesses, and public walkways. But after a water bottle or soda can is deposited into a recycling bin, what happens to it from there? Until recently, recyclable waste generated by the US (and many other countries) was typically sold to China after being sorted and cleaned in a domestic Materials Recovery Facility. This changed in January 2018, when China's National Sword policy, which effectively banned the importation of foreign recyclables, was put into effect. What inspired this policy change, and how has it affected the global recycling economy? In this episode of the podcast 99% Invisible, released in February 2019, host Roman Mars and producer Avery Trufelman explore these and other questions one year after National Sword went into effect. They speak with experts such as Kate O'Neill, an associate professor of environmental science, policy, and management at the University of California-Berkeley, and Robert Reed, a representative of the San Francisco recycling company Recology. As an added bonus, at the end of this episode listeners will also hear the May 2016 episode "Separation Anxiety," which explores how the city of Taipei's recycling system compares to practices in the US.
Archived Scout Publication URL
Scout Publication
GEM Subject
Date of Scout Publication
August 30th, 2019
Date Of Record Creation
August 26th, 2019 at 1:50pm
Date Of Record Release
August 27th, 2019 at 9:52am
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