East Asia Blog

Recyclers Cringe as Southeast Asia Says It’s Sick of the West’s Trash


Much of the western world tried to find ways to dispose of their trash, particularly plastic. One way of doing that was to unload all of their plastic onto Asian countries, with the hope that those countries would recycle the plastic. The trash would then be "out of sight, out of mind" as far as the western countries were concerned.

Unfortunately for them, Asia because fed up with receiving so much waste. It was causing pollution problems within the countries, and many residents were beginning to protest the presence of so much trash. Thus, Asian countries began to close off and in some cases ban all imports of trash into the country. Illegal recycling plants were shut down. Some trash was even sent back to its countries of origin.

One drawback of this crack down on imports is that some Asian countries were making decent money off of their recycling plants. In some cases the recycled material, when recycled properly, could become very valuable and be used in high end products. The article also mentions that without this growth in the recycling industry, this could potentially hinder efforts to clean up the oceans.