Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Guardian investigation has found that hundreds of thousands of tons of US plastic are being shipped every year to poorly regulated developing countries around the globe for the dirty, labor-intensive process of recycling. The consequences for public health and the environment are grim.

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A team of Guardian reporters in 11 countries has found:

Last year, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling were exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their own plastic waste.

The newest hotspots for handling US plastic recycling are some of the world's poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal, offering cheap labor and limited environmental regulation.

In some places, like Turkey, a surge in foreign waste shipments is disrupting efforts to handle locally generated plastics.

With these nations overwhelmed, thousands of tons of waste plastic are stranded at home in the US, as we reveal in our story later this week.

#1 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2019-06-17 11:03 PM | Reply

I knew it, I knew it. Once that picture of all those plastic bottles stuck in that channel in India was published, the left wing media would try to pin it on the U.S.

#2 | Posted by boaz at 2019-06-18 07:55 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Unintended consequences of ill thought out regulation? No way!

#3 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-06-18 08:59 AM | Reply

Free market at work and yet another reason we need regulations.

#4 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2019-06-18 09:08 AM | Reply

#3 | Posted by visitor_

Consequences of letting the free market handle it.

#5 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2019-06-18 09:09 AM | Reply

What I don't understand is why waste plastic isn't used as a building material more. It doesn't take much infrastructure at all. Melt it and extrude or mold the material into blocks or tile. Building material is at a premium in the third world.

#6 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-06-18 09:10 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Unintended consequences of ill thought out regulation

One could just as easily say it's a consequence of not enough regulation. Perhaps if conservatives weren't such cheapskates we could afford a first-world recycling program where the materials are processed here, creating jobs for Americans in the process.

But we can barely get conservatives to agree to pay for the existing program. And then they bitch and moan when it doesn't work.

#7 | Posted by JOE at 2019-06-18 09:22 AM | Reply

Not surprising that the America-hating, leftwing Guardian focuses on the US. It's always Blame America First with these fanatics.

#8 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-06-18 09:23 AM | Reply | Funny: 2 | Newsworthy 2

It's always Blame America First with these fanatics.

#8 | POSTED BY NULLIFIDIAN

You should place the blame where it belongs. And if it is us then it is even more important we get that out there. So we as a nation can make the right choices.

As opposed to blaming third world countries for what WE have done to them.

Stop pretending that we are not the problem and stop pretending what we do has no effect on the rest of the world and there is nothing we can do when, in fact, many times, we are The Problem, and there is a lot we can do.

#9 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-06-18 09:35 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Tell y'all what casting plastic takes. A chamber that can have a controlled temp of between 110c to 140c, any higher the plastic will burn. A little pressure and you have what you need. The surface of the chamber has to be something like copper or stainless steel. Any oil or carbon on that surface will keep the plastic from sticking to the mode. I could do it without electricity or petroleum fuel. I have watched locals in Haiti turn a junk car into rebar using nothing but a couple of pairs of pliers. Don't underestimate people. They are more remorseful than you know. Plastic bricks are lite and strong. Plastic tile is vector proof, and easier to work with than tin. Better yet, you can blend different plastics.

#10 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-06-18 09:40 AM | Reply

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Go USA!
Number 1

Excited
Gognoles

#11 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2019-06-18 10:10 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

3 | Posted by visitor_

Consequences of letting the free market handle it.

#5 | POSTED BY GALAXIEPETE

Consequences of letting idiots like trump run things.

Soon we will be making the most beautiful Clean Plastic than any other county! That will piss off them stupid liberals.

Winning!

#12 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-06-18 10:16 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

The US is a piker when it comes to plastic waste. China is by far the biggest offender and it's not even close.

#13 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-06-18 10:31 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

As opposed to blaming third world countries for what WE have done to them.

We haven't done anything to them. This is mostly their fault..

www.forbes.com

It's just one sliver of the massive pollution problem in Asia. China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are dumping more plastic into oceans than the rest of the world combined, according to a 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy.

#14 | Posted by boaz at 2019-06-18 10:39 AM | Reply

I notice how no one is responding to Dojcno. At least not the liberals.

#15 | Posted by boaz at 2019-06-18 10:40 AM | Reply

infographic.statista.com

#16 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-06-18 10:45 AM | Reply

www.designingbuildings.co.uk

#17 | Posted by boaz at 2019-06-18 10:46 AM | Reply

#16..

WOW.

#18 | Posted by boaz at 2019-06-18 10:48 AM | Reply

1. Force us to carefully sort and store our trash into bins based on recyclability and charge us for the privilege.
2. Combine all the carefully sorted plastics into cargo containers and ship to third world for resorting and recycling.
3. Shippers dump it all into the ocean.
4. Since unintended consequences of regulations caused the problem, double down on regulations. (See first rule of holes.)

5. Ban plastic straws.

Yay, we're saving the world!

#19 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-06-18 11:07 AM | Reply

I notice how no one is responding to Dojcno.

I'm waiting for him to say how all the waste is going to be cleaned and sorted before being turned into magic bricks.

You do realize you can't just empty a shipload of garbage into a big pot and melt it, right?

#20 | Posted by REDIAL at 2019-06-18 11:12 AM | Reply

#20,

Of course sorting has to happen. But it's at least a thought.

#21 | Posted by boaz at 2019-06-18 11:22 AM | Reply

Of course sorting has to happen.

I await your plan. Sorting and cleaning is why it's being shipped to poor countries in the first place.

What's your better idea?

#22 | Posted by REDIAL at 2019-06-18 11:25 AM | Reply

The countries polluting the ocean the most: infographic.statista.com

#23 | Posted by MSgt at 2019-06-18 12:24 PM | Reply

The countries polluting the ocean the most...

#23 | Posted by MSgt

I hit my wife with an open hand, so I'm not as bad as these closed fist abusers!

-righties

Seriously, anything that shines a light on the ridiculous use of single use plastics, by anyone, is a good thing.

#24 | Posted by jpw at 2019-06-18 12:26 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Want to do something to help with this problem? Do like we did and to go 4Ocean [4ocean.com] where you can donate through buying their bracelets. We bought for ourselves, children and grandchildren.

#25 | Posted by MSgt at 2019-06-18 12:27 PM | Reply

It's got to go somewhere.

"I hit my wife with an open hand, so I'm not as bad as these closed fist abusers!

-righties"

Of course it doesn't take long for a person filled with partisan hate to blame Reps for the world's plastic problem.

#26 | Posted by humtake at 2019-06-18 12:30 PM | Reply

Of course it doesn't take long for a person filled with partisan hate to blame Reps for the world's plastic problem.

#26 | Posted by humtake

What?

Do you realize how simplistic and completely wrong your interpretation of my very simple comment is?

Read it again, sport. Pay closest attention to the word I italicized.

#27 | Posted by jpw at 2019-06-18 12:34 PM | Reply

We haven't done anything to them. This is mostly their fault..

yeah we have done nothing to them!

Except buy their cheap plastic junk so we can then ship it to poor third world countries to deal with when we are done with it.

#28 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-06-18 12:39 PM | Reply

1. Force us to carefully sort and store our trash into bins based on recyclability and charge us for the privilege.
2. Combine all the carefully sorted plastics into cargo containers and ship to third world for resorting and recycling.
3. Shippers dump it all into the ocean.
4. Since unintended consequences of regulations caused the problem, double down on regulations. (See first rule of holes.)
5. Ban plastic straws.
Yay, we're saving the world!

#19 | POSTED BY VISITOR_

Unintended consequences of regulations? It sounds like lack of regulations allow companies to just ship the stuff overseas to be dumped.

Care to explain what regulation is causing this?

Also, plastic straws have nothing to do with it. The ban on plastic straws is because they break apart into microplastics that we can't clean up or get out of the water. So we and various animals end up ingesting them.

Proving once again people vote Republican because they haven't a clue whats going on and are too lazy to Google it.

#29 | Posted by Sycophant at 2019-06-18 12:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Care to explain what regulation is causing this?

The one that prevents companies from simply dumping it here and saving visitor a few bucks a month in recycling costs?

#30 | Posted by jpw at 2019-06-18 12:49 PM | Reply

Plastics buried safely in a landfill don't kill sea life.

#31 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-06-18 01:43 PM | Reply

Plastics buried safely in a landfill don't kill sea life.

#31 | Posted by visitor_

No, it just sits there for centuries until it degrades enough to work itself into the food chain.

#32 | Posted by jpw at 2019-06-18 01:50 PM | Reply

"Plastics buried safely in a landfill don't kill sea life."

Plus we can harvest it easier in 70 years when we run out.

#33 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-06-18 01:51 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Point me at the study that shows plastics breaking down in a landfill entering the food chain. At any rate, sequestering is orders of magnitude better than scattering into ocean.

#34 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-06-18 01:54 PM | Reply

At any rate, sequestering is orders of magnitude better than scattering into ocean.

It's marginally better.

What's magnitudes of order better is either not producing it or producing biodegradable plastics that are OK to bury or compost.

#35 | Posted by jpw at 2019-06-18 02:18 PM | Reply

www.unenvironment.org

If you want more

www.google.com

Google is your friend. Instead of acting as if something doesn't exist because you're too lazy to Google it, actually take the few seconds you need to find out the answer to your question.

#36 | Posted by jpw at 2019-06-18 02:21 PM | Reply

A quick perusal found no instances of plastics sequestered in a landfill entering the food chain.

#37 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-06-18 02:27 PM | Reply

I'd like to toss in one of those "Whattabout" things...

What about the actual topic of the thread? Shipping gazillions of tonnes of plastic to poor countries to deal with?

It's not about plastic in the oceans, or landfills. It's about plastic shipped to poor countries just to get it out of sight.

#38 | Posted by REDIAL at 2019-06-18 02:31 PM | Reply

Well we could quit sending our waste plastic to the third world and then the people there whose livelihood depends on sorting and cleaning it could learn to code.

#39 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-06-18 03:35 PM | Reply

Free market at work and yet another reason we need regulations.
#4 | Posted by GalaxiePete

How would you regulate the export of plastic?

#40 | Posted by Sniper at 2019-06-18 04:47 PM | Reply

What I don't understand is why waste plastic isn't used as a building material more. It doesn't take much infrastructure at all. Melt it and extrude or mold the material into blocks or tile. Building material is at a premium in the third world.
#6 | Posted by docnjo

It is labor intensive to sort the junk out.

#41 | Posted by Sniper at 2019-06-18 04:49 PM | Reply

Well we could quit sending our waste plastic to the third world and then the people there whose livelihood depends on sorting and cleaning it could learn to code.
#39 | Posted by visitor_

I have a better idea... ... ... .. We could quit sending them bottled water too.

#42 | Posted by Sniper at 2019-06-18 04:56 PM | Reply

Tell y'all what casting plastic takes. A chamber that can have a controlled temp of between 110c to 140c, any higher the plastic will burn. A little pressure and you have what you need. The surface of the chamber has to be something like copper or stainless steel. Any oil or carbon on that surface will keep the plastic from sticking to the mode. I could do it without electricity or petroleum fuel. I have watched locals in Haiti turn a junk car into rebar using nothing but a couple of pairs of pliers. Don't underestimate people. They are more remorseful than you know. Plastic bricks are lite and strong. Plastic tile is vector proof, and easier to work with than tin. Better yet, you can blend different plastics.

#10 | POSTED BY comrade DOCNJO

Sounds like you have a solid plan? Why waste time posting your drivel here and go
Head first into this project. You're solving a huge environmental problem, and would make yourself a millionaire if not billionaire in the process. A win-win for all, right?

#43 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2019-06-18 07:00 PM | Reply

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