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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Column: China Has a New Year's Resolution, ...

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... and So Should We

Landfills: Ready for all our trash. Image via Pixabay.
Whatever you think of New Year's resolutions, a not-so-friendly suggestion for one is heading your way across the Pacific. On January 1, China, which uses "recyclables" as industrial feedstocks, will begin refusing shipments that don't meet its new, higher standards. The prospect of burying our recyclables has made some environmentalists lament the "decades of recycling progress under threat," and others wish the change "will make recycling stronger." Predictably (and incorrectly), greens are reusing the cliché about the Chinese word for crisis meaning both danger and opportunity. Since when has it been a danger to get rid of garbage? And is the alternative really an opportunity? I throw out plastic bottles -- and I think we should take on this challenge, but not in the way environmentalists intend.

Let's be clear about what recycling is. Although you might think it was invented by hippies who, as Ayn Rand once put it, "would pollute any stream by stepping into it," recycling pre-dates China itself, and began the moment someone realized that it saved time, effort, and/or money to re-use an object or any of its raw materials. In fact, the practice was so economical that there was no need for scolds and government bureaucrats...

To continue reading my latest column, please proceed to RealClear Markets.

I would like to thank reader Steve D. and my wife for their comments on an earlier version of this piece.

-- CAV

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