Conveyors carry mixed plastic into a device that will shred recycle them at a plastics recycling plant in Vernon, California.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon,File
Since China stopped importing 'foreign garbage' in March 2018, scrap – especially plastic – has built up in the US. Will this shock trigger long-overdue investments in plastic recycling here?
Used once and done.
Research is yielding strategies for making plastics greener and more sustainable. But without support as they scale up, new versions will struggle to compete with well-established synthetic plastics.
Millions of tons of plastic are manufactured every year.
In 2015, over 320 million tons of polymers, excluding fibers, were manufactured across the globe.
Every day we throw away plastic and every day we're reminded of its environmental impact. Why can't something be done about it?
Single-use biodegradable plastics include claims that they break down quickly into benign end products, but the reality is more complex.
New types of biodegradable or compostable plastic products seem to offer an alternative to conventional plastics. But they may be no better for the environment.
Sea turtle eating a plastic bag.
Plastic bags are commonly mistaken for food by sea animals. They require a lot of energy and resources to be made, and have caused floods in some countries.
You might know expanded polystyrene as packing foam, but it's a nightmare to recycle. Why not just turn it into something useful (or beautiful) instead?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but plastic straws are ruining the ocean.
Community post office, Freetown Christiania.
The residents of Freetown Christiania have lived by degrowth values for decades.
Fungal bricks have the potential to create safer and more sustainable buildings.
V Anisimov / Shutterstock
Waste byproducts from rice and glass combined with fungus can create a construction material with the potential to save lives and the planet.
Illegal dumping is costing governments millions – but satellite technology could help put a stop to it.
A jumble of steel scrap.
If the US were to stop dumping these valuable metals in landfills and to cease exporting them as cheap scrap, its imports could fall, and there would be less of these metals being made from scratch.
A hairy garment, woven from human hair by Alix Bizet – putting human fibre to good use.
In Asia, human hair is sold and recycled into products, but in the West it is treated with either disgust or veneration. A new exhibition explores our bizarre attitudes to hair.
So many hospital items are used once and then thrown away.
Health care produces 7% of Australia's carbon emissions. And hospitals produce about half of this. Not to mention all the single-use items thrown away every day.
There’s more to e-waste than the discarded monitors, cell phones and other electronics.
No amount of post-consumer recycling can recoup the waste generated before consumers purchase their devices.
Could this be turned into fuel, instead of just more plastic?
Plastic can only be recycled a few times before it becomes useless. But even non-recyclable plastic can be used to help produce petrol and diesel. Could this process help overcome the recycling crisis?
Dumped waste is a constant eyesore on the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub.
African News Agency Archives (ANA)
Littering in protest is indicative of a discordant society, and a culture of littering can tell us a lot about a society's ethos.
Sydney’s experience suggests that having separate bins for paper and bottles leads to better recycling.
AAP Image/Tracy Nearmy
Both short- and long-term solutions are needed to solve Australia's recycling crisis. State and federal ministers are pursuing some promising avenues, but they need to cast the net much wider.
These are already 100% recyclable - the trick is to actually recycle them.
Under a new target, 100% of Australian packaging will be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. But this is not enough - we also need to ensure that recyclable materials are actually recycled.
Bernard Spragg. NZ/Flickr
China new cleanliness standards for the recyclable materials it imports are so stringent that they are tantamount to a total ban. Australian councils are now in crisis mode as the rubbish piles up.