July 29 - In Praise of China's 'Green Fence'

An editorial in Waste & Recycling News recently praised China’s ‘Green Fence,’ a policy enacted earlier this year that cracks down on waste material being shipped to that country for recycling.

The authors say this policy is creating unexpected benefits for the U.S. recycling industry. One, it’s leveling the playing field for recyclers who have invested in technologies to make their recyclables ‘clean,’ (their materials are being accepted in China). And two, the policy is encouraging recyclers to invest in processing facilities here at home.

For years we've exported mountains of recyclables to China, supplying it with cheap raw material for goods that we end up buying back. They buy low and sell high. While that model won't completely change, maybe it's time to keep some of our valuable materials at home.

Investing in recycling and processing facilities in the United States is good for the environment and the economy. By processing materials here, rather than shipping them overseas, we help reduce the GHG emissions created during transport. In addition, more recycling in-state means more jobs—even in a sluggish economy. A recent report said more than 15,000 recycling jobs have been added to the economy since the beginning of 2010.

That’s why CAW supports AB 1021 (Eggman) to expand recycling market development. This bill would provide financial assistance in the form of sales tax exemption on equipment purchases to businesses that process or utilized recycled feedstock. It passed out of Senate EQ and will be heard in Senate Appropriations when the legislature reconvenes in August.

Find out more about recycling’s potential to create jobs in California.

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