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Agriculture Plastic Paradox

How much plastics does agriculture use yearly? And what happens to it?
Fruit and Plastic

What does happen to the plastic bottles and raspberry containers you put out by the curb every Thursday? Interestingly, they are sent to Chinese recycling facilities. China is now only accepting high-value plastic, and California’s farmers are grappling with what to do with the 50,000 to 75,000 tons of plastic they use each year.

Instead of investing in the sorting and cleaning technologies required to process soiled and unsorted recyclables, which both China and the US have been reluctant to do, China’s Green Fence policy blocks the import of those plastics. As a result, US recycling centers that once accepted scrap plastic for recycling are being forced to send it to American landfills [Quartz.com].

Quartz.com reports that there is a paradox in the Chinese Green Fence policy because the Chinese processing factories desperately need US plastic for their manufacturing needs. Also, from Scrap-ex, it is reported that demand for plastic is expected to triple in the next eight years.

Global demand for recovered plastics is set to triple in the space of eight years, according to BIR Plastics Committee chairman Surendra Borad [Scrap-ex].


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