Do you still think recycling is happening?

Plastic wrappers and packages that start in Americans' recycling bins end up in illegal landfills, industrial ovens, and in the lungs of people from Muzaffarnagar.

Muzaffarnagar is a town about 80 miles north of New Delhi, and is famous in India for two things: the colonial-era freedom fighters who drove out the British, and sugarcane production, with about 1.500 small sugar mills in the area. recycling

What the tourist guides don't show is Muzaffarnagar's status as the final destination for tons of recycled American plastic. Plastic garbage is piled two meters high on one of the city's main streets. Children collected discarded toys from the hills, while waste collectors sifted for metal cans or intact plastic bottles that could be sold.

Although most of the trash is soaked or broken, the tags show how far it has come. Also ubiquitous are Amazon.com shipping envelopes dropped by American and Canadian consumers some 7.000 miles away.
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On top of the trash are the three green arrows that form the recycling logo, while some plastic packaging has messages such as “Recycle Me”. Plastics from the North American recycling system ended up in India, which since 2019 has banned almost all imports of plastic waste.

So how did Muzaffarnagar become America's garbage dump?

To answer this question, Bloomberg Green investigated brokers who ship waste around the world, and municipal waste companies in the US looking for recipients for lower-cost recycling.

Ultimately, the search showed that American consumers think they are recycling their trash with the system that is supposed to reduce pollution, provide landfills and give new life to valuable materials.

The truth in Muzaffarnagar tells otherwise.

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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