Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

What did China have that we can't replicate?

Asked by Dutchess_III (41747points) 1 month ago

My town is going to discontinue the recycling program. It’s just costing too much.
I assume it goes back to China no longer accepting everybody’s recycling.
Now, why were we sending it to China in the first place, and what did they do with the stuff that we can’t do ourselves?

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55 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Workers who earn $0.35 an hour.

stanleybmanly's avatar

China had starvation wages and slave shop conditions. They specialized at first in the manufacture of low end stuff—anything you might find in a dollar store. They could also take our scrap metal cardboard packaging and used paper that we burned up in incinerators and recycle them at a profit because they paid slave wages and cared not about environmental consequences. All of that changed in less than a generation, and now they are a great deal more selective about which of our disposables they are willing to accept.

Patty_Melt's avatar

They never were in a recycling agreement. The government just told us that to keep us sending it. Actually our military were doing covert flyovers at night and just dropping it, like a prank.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We had a single customer for recyclables (China) Trump pissed them off over tariffs and POOOF no more customer.

Darth_Algar's avatar

A huge population willing to work for next to nothing, a disregard for the environment and a willingness to take someone else’s refuse.

The environmental stuff has changed in recent years. Turns out eventually people start wanting air they can breathe and water they can drink.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Agree with @Darth_Algar – they have people that can be made to work like slaves, and no regard for the environment.

And China has a good supply of rare minerals that can’t be found anywhere else on earth (or not easily).

And China has lots of open space.

And their government doesn’t need to be responsive to the population.

So the US did business with China because it was cheaper and easier than doing the ‘right’ thing here in the US.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Wow some video.
“Tuen got his head smash today.”
boss “Yes, I dock him half pay. Today he get $.44”

That’s what happens when population goes out of control. Each person is expendable and forgettable except for family.

Stopping the recycling was world wide. In 2018 the entire planet was reduced to only a few certain recyclable materials would be allowed for shipping to China.

mazingerz88's avatar

Can’t help but think China has expendable population. Not sure if its government / politicians there would be at all troubled if an epidemic kills 100 million of their citizens.

Patty_Melt's avatar

There are times that the viruses that keep popping out make me wonder.

mazingerz88's avatar

In a Hollywood movie, it’s the perfect crime to get away with by any tyrannical government. Keeping the cure for a deadly virus in secret until the desired number of people had been culled.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The joys of having almost 20% of the world’s population.

Patty_Melt's avatar

But they have plenty of bodies to put on a slammin’ Olympic ceremony. I’m glad I recorded them cause, wow!

Dutchess_lll's avatar

What were they doing with the recycle that we cant do?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Can’t we build huge incinerators that we can just destroy the hell out of this stuff and turn it back into its basic element / matter, which can neither be created nor destroyed?

Caravanfan's avatar

@Dutchess_lll Yes, but that would dump a bunch of carbon in the air.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Incinerators mean polluting byproducts. And it isn’t that we can’t do it. As your town had as discovered, we can’t do it cheaply.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Dutchess_III's avatar

I am so upset. The stuff I sent off to the land fill was halved when I started recycling.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III What were they doing with the recycle that we cant do?”

It’s not a matter of can’t, it’s a matter of will. China was willing to spew all this shit into their. We are not, and now neither is China. We could try consuming less. That would be a better ideal. But that’s not going to happen either, as we’re hopelessly addicted to consumption.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sigh.

If only our government could put some law into place that all packaging has to be biodegradable (no more plastic.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I meant,what technology did they have that allowed them to recycle that we don’t have?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The technology was merely a surplus relative to ourselves of disposable human beings, and the determination that people exist to benefit the state. We profess the opposite, though it should by now be apparent that a more accurate interpretation of reality is our the state as well as its people exist to benefit the rich.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But what did they DO with the stuff? Did they process it in some way?

Why would they waste money and time having all that crap shipped to them if they weren’t going to do something with it?

stanleybmanly's avatar

They reshape it there because no one will reshape it here for a dollar a day. They can both reshape it there and reship it here and still turn a BIG profit.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Do you know any specifics? How do they reshape it?

stanleybmanly's avatar

They take our throwaway plastics and make everything you can buy in the dollar store. Let’s consider the plastic spoon you get with your ice cream or yogurt. Those spoons might come from China because no American manufacturer can produce them as cheaply. And the reasons are always due to a combination of the huge discrepancy in wages & labor laws along with differences in environmental regulations. Any technological advantage of an American producer is quickly acquired (usually stolen) so technical innovation confers no edge particularly in low end items.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Thank you. I understand now. So why did China end such a lucrative business? I have heard it was in retaliation for trump’s tariffs, and that makes sense now that I can see how it will affect our economy.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s what the fool would prefer you to believe. The Chinese don’t want to be our junkyard nor the environmental catastrophe necessary to sustain the operation. They are moving up to more sophisticated production of high value goods, and production of the dollar store stuff is shifting to places even deeper in the ditch than the Chinese at the onset of the reforms in the 90s. The race is on as entire factories are relocated to more downtrodden excerpts from “Heart of Darkness.”

Dutchess_lll's avatar

So my thoughts were wrong?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll “So why did China end such a lucrative business?”

Because, like I said above, people eventually start to want an environment they can live in, not merely exist in. Despite their massive surplus of population China has developed a strong burgeoning middle and upper class. They demand clean air, clean water and green spaces. An industrialized wasteland isn’t enough for them.

There’s also the issue that a huge percentage of the waste they would receive was not recyclable. We seem to be under the collective impression that we can simply toss whatever into the recycling bin and it gets magically taken care of. So we never bother to clean things off before throwing it in the bin. But too much contamination, such as residue on food containers, renders the item unrecyclable. Before China would simply sort this stuff and toss it into their landfills. But they’re no longer willing to be the world’s garbage can.

Patty_Melt's avatar

If you merely check, many news sources tell you, repeating myself, it was a worldwide pact that CERTAIN things would no longer be sent to China for recycling. It was not about POTUS at all. It was a global agreement. The whole world is following the same one list. We are not the only ones sending recyclables to China. Everyone agreed to follow the same regulations.

IT IS WORLDWIDE.

Get it???!!!

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I saw that @Patty_Melt. I fact checked myself yesterday after the civilized discussion I had with @stanleybmanly.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I first pointed it out five days ago.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And yes. My town is following suit. There are only certain things that they will continue to recycle. “Corrugated cardboard” keeps coming up in reference to that. I’m packed to the rafters with corrugated cardboard.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I use cardboard to lessen my snow removal issues. If everything is frozen so the cardboard won’t get wet, I put it down on my walk. When it is stopped I lift the edge of the cardboard pieces, and let the snow slide off. That reduces my scooping, but doesn’t replace my shovel. Wet snow, freezing rain are times it can’t be used.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sure. Cardboard has a lot of uses, but they are only accepting corrugated cardboard. I have no clue why.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Oh! Sure. Because it lacks various additives other types of cardboard have. It is easier to clean and restore to a usable state.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

But I don’t have any. How many people have enough corrugated cardboard to recycle? Only time I even see it is when I get pizza…and of course it has grease on it so can’t recycle.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I can only get out for shopping once a month. It is quite a lot to carry to the house, even if I have help. I order as much online as I can. I have two new boxes or more every month.
Some people are unable to get out at all.

Also, there are people moving every day, and most use moving boxes for at least some things.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

They aren’t recycling regular cardboard, like moving boxes or shipping boxes. Only corrugated. Makes no sense to me at all.

Patty_Melt's avatar

That’s what corrugated cardboard is. It is brown cardboard with the waffled center part.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I know what corrugated cardboard is. How many of us have corrugated cardboard hanging about to be recycled?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Nice video @Patty Melt

Patty_Melt's avatar

Dutch, I gave examples above. Moving boxes, used virtually every single day, are recyclable corrugated cardboard. So are the boxes that I and millions of others get when we order stuff online. Everyone but you has it at least sometimes.
Watch the freaking video.
Bananas, packed in corrugated cardboard boxes. Also apples.
It is how canned goods get to the grocery stores. Diapers are packed in them.
It is one of the most common items in everyday American lives.

@Stanley, thankyou.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Runs to go look at a box…. OIC! OK. Thank you so much. That’s good to hear.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Whew! Now you can kick all those boxes to the curb.
(Heart shaped happy face emoji here)

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well, cardboard boxes are pretty far down on the list. They can always be burned.
Plastic is up high on my list.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Burning them is not recycling!

Dutchess_lll's avatar

No. It’s not. But they can be burned and then they go back to the earth clean.
You can’t burn plastic.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Not the way it works – - – cardboard is made from wood fiber > wood fiber comes from trees >>> trees take a long time to go grow. You have lost 20 years of fiber in almost a heart beat.

Darth_Algar's avatar

For the love of…

stanleybmanly's avatar

VERY little can be burned clean. And with hydrocarbons, the carbon winds up in the air and oceans as carbon dioxide.

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