字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 The idea behind recycling is simple. By breaking old products down and converting them into something usable again we conserve natural resources. It saves forests, cuts emissions and means less pollution. Sadly, it's not that simple. Recycling is deeply entwined with our economic system and right now, doesn't make much economic sense. It often costs more to recycle than it does to just throw things away, which is bad news for the environment. This is your Bloomberg QuickTake on the global recycling crisis. Recycling took off globally mainly thanks to China. Back in the nineties China experienced a manufacturing boom and began exporting more and more goods. The makers of these goods were hungry for metals and plastics to refashion into new products and used paper to package them up. So countries like the U.S. were able to load the ships recently emptied of Chinese exports with tonnes of their waste. Everybody won; the U.S. found a huge customer willing to pay for rubbish which now wasn't going to landfill and China capitalized on the empty ships returning home, full of material ready for reprocessing. For years the amount of waste China collected grew and grew and the world became reliant. But that all changed in 2017. "China has introduced new restrictions on the import of foreign waste." "The Chinese government now bans the import of 24 types of scrap." It turns out taking the world's rubbish wasn't particularly good for China's environment. "China is tired of importing our trash." The decision to ban imports sent prices of waste materials plummeting and upended global recycling markets, creating a crisis for communities that had relied on sales of rubbish to subsidize the cost of collecting it. In the U.S. the average price of used corrugated cardboard fell 85% in two years to $28 per ton in August 2019. Recycled materials are commodities, just like oil, gold or caviar and their value rises and falls due to market conditions. For example, when prices are low, it's often cheaper to make that water bottle from freshly drilled gas. And careless recycling can add to the cost. Just one pizza box in a pile of cardboard can ruin the whole batch as the oils in it can't be separated from the paper fiber. At the same time, big companies like Mars, PepsiCo and Unilever have vowed to cut use of virgin plastic and pledged to use more recycled and biodegradable goods, a feat that may need the re-invention of some manufacturing practices. So is it worth paying for? Recycling saves serious amounts of energy, which in turn means lower greenhouse gas emissions. Making cans from recycled aluminium uses 95% less energy than mining and using raw materials. Recycling steel saves 60%, as does recycling paper. So it boils down to how quickly we're able to remake the way we make things. As of 2018, we were on track to generate waste at more than double the rate of population growth through 2050, so we can expect plenty more rubbish to pile up. Some communities are running out of room to store all their trash and have stopped collecting plastic, paper and glass. Others are just sending material to landfills or burning it. Such issues have given environmentalists cause to suggest a more radical approach is needed, saying we should rethink our relationship with materials and be using less stuff in the first place.