Timothy Benton | Oct 18, 2018 | 1
American Recycled Goods Fuel China’s Economy
When you throw your recyclable garbage into the recycling bin as opposed to the trash, you probably feel as if you had done a little bit of good in the world. You assume that your used recyclables will be used to manufacture more goods in the United States. You might also assume that you have helped the environment to a small degree as you pass on your recycled goods.
In reality, you might not be making that much of a difference when you recycle. Perhaps you might even be harming both the United States and the environment. That is because your recycled goods are exported to China.
China imports several million tons of copper every year. In 2016, China imported 17 million tons of Copper.
China is one of the biggest users and producers of refined copper in the world. China alone accounts for a massive 45% of the global market demand of copper.
Copper is a valuable metal which is used in both technology and building. It is no secret that China engages in massive building projects and is developing at a massive rate, and copper is absolutely necessary for their growth.
In 2017, China’s real GDP growth is expected to be among the best in the world at 6.2%. Meanwhile, the real GDP growth in the United States is expected to be among the worst in the world at a mere 2.199%. It seems that stagnation in the United States is the norm while economic growth in China is to be expected.
American citizens willingly recycle their items for pennies without knowing the goods are shipped off to China to enhance their competitive advantage over us.
Some might be more optimistic and try to find a silver lining. Globalists could believe that it does not matter if China is abusing our generous exports as long as it is still helping the environment. That is simply not the case.
The environmental ramifications of China’s excessive development are well-documented. China alone contributes to 30% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. The next is only half of that: the United States contributes 15% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
One does not even need to go into the documentation and numbers to understand China’s effects on the environment. Simply take a flight to Beijing, and you will realize the impacts when you cannot see a few meters in front of you and cough uncontrollably due to the pollution.
The “economic development” of China not only results in pollution, but also shoddy buildings and technology that end up in landfills anyway. Buildings in China tend not be as great of quality as they are in the West, which results in regular collapsed buildings. It is not uncommon for large buildings to turn into giants piles of dust mere years after being built.
With China’s emissions in mind, one cannot really say they are making a significant positive impact when they recycle if our recyclables are exported to China. Our recyclables go to China, which are used to produce practically unregulated carbon dioxide emissions and then are eventually disposed of when the shoddy Chinese buildings and technology inevitably deteriorate.
Now it is being speculated that China might ban scrap and recycled imports in 2018. Ultimately, this will not mean that our recycled copper and other goods will stay in the United States. China’s growth does not seem to be stopping soon and they will still need copper. The cooper will still go to China eventually, but it will likely be refined in another country such as Vietnam or India.
In the end, this is just one example out of many demonstrating our trade problems with China. How can we even begin to talk about jobs being sent overseas when we cannot even keep our own recycled goods in this country?