Did you know that China has been taking most of America’s recycled materials, huge bales of compacted waste containing paper, cardboard or plastics. Globally, since 1992, 72 per cent of plastic waste has ended up in China and Hong Kong, according to a study in the journal Science Advances. Waste handlers in the US say they expect China will close its doors to all recycled materials by 2020 – an impossibly short deadline.
This messy problem is starting to get punted down the line to cities and towns, who themselves will have to come up with a sustainable recycling system. “There was a time a few years ago when it was cheaper to recycle. It’s just not the case anymore,” said Christopher Shorter, director of public works for the city of Washington.”It will be more and more expensive for us to recycle,” he said
One idea is for cities to take a closer look at how they can recycle their waste into beautiful public spaces. Like Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, where a floating park made from recycled plastic, has popped up. The recycled plastic is constructed into hexagonal pods, which mimic the landscape of Rotterdam’s Maas River before humans altered the landscape, according to the Recycled Island Foundation,the group behind the park.
The pods can be used to create gardens, as habitat for wildlife like water birds, plants, and fish or for just chilling out, since the pods can be molded into different seating arrangements.
Here’s how it works: plastic is collected by litter traps deployed along the river, preventing plastic from flowing into the ocean That plastic is processed into building material, which is then used to construct the park.
What can we do as citizens of the world? Use reusable containers as often as we can from glass water bottles to glass food containers, market bags to coffee mugs and refuse disposable plastic bags, cutlery, plates and containers. Reduce how much we buy, reuse and relove what we have. Every small action matters; never underestimate the power of a positive action.