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China's recycling ban: where will your rubbish go?

about 20 hours ago

Why has China stopped taking many of our recycled plastics? We ask Bloomberg journalist Adam Minter – a man obsesed with rubbish, junkyards and the huge economies that underpin the recycling industry. Audio

Saturday 16 June 2018

This Way Up for Saturday 16 June 2018

After China's restrictions, where's your recycling going to go now? BITS+BYTES: hi tech World Cup and how natural is your wine?

China's recycling ban: where will your rubbish go?

Bales of recycling

Photo: (Photo by Bas Emmen on Unsplash)

China has, until recently, been the world's recycling bin.

In the '80s and '90s, it was recycling that helped to fuel China's manufacturing boom as local producers struggled to find the raw materials they needed to make stuff.

But China announced earlier this year that it would start restricting waste imports, so some plastics that were once being recycled are now being dumped in landfills.

Adam Minter is a man obsessed with rubbish, junkyards and the huge economies that underpin the recycling industry.

The Bloomberg journalist has written a book called Junkyard Planet and is currently researching another one all about the global market for second-hand goods.

"At its peak, imported recycled material was the feed stock for more than half of China's paper production, while imported scrap may have accounted for a third of its copper production. The recycling industry employed 1.5 million people, and indirectly supported another 10 million jobs. By 2011, recycling businesses devoted to non-ferrous metals were churning out products worth more than $64 billion a year" - Adam Minter

Bits + Bytes: a hi-tech World Cup

Music head

Photo: (Photo by Alice Moore on Unsplash)

Critics worry a big reform of European privacy laws could have a chilling effect on free speech on the internet.

Plus the FIFA World Cup has kicked off, so how hi-tech is the tournament? 

And we review the latest music streaming service – YouTube Music.

How natural is your wine?

There's a battle going on in the world of wine.

In one corner is the $250 billion-dollar global wine industry (using the latest scientific production methods and agricultural tools to produce consistent, highly engineered wines that are often built to please the wine critics' palate).

In the other corner are devotees of so-called 'natural' wines – wines that are ethically produced and made without pesticides, chemicals or preservatives.

These wines tend to be a bit more fragrant and funky, perhaps a bit cloudy and more acidic with a real taste of grapes that its fans say harks back to the first wines made about 6,000 years ago.

It's the "biggest conflict in the world of wine for a generation", says Guardian journalist Stephen Buranyi.

"As natural wine has grown, it has made enemies. To its many detractors, it is a form of luddism, a sort of viticultural anti-vax movement that lauds the cidery, vinegary faults that science has spent the past century painstakingly eradicating." Stephen Buranyi in The Guardian