Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • This video is sponsored by Audible!

  • Listen to a free audiobook with the link in the description.

  • Every year, about 60 million people visit mainland China from around the world.

  • Mostly, to Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

  • These, not coincidentally, are unofficially known as Tier One cities - they have large

  • urban populations, fast-growing economies, and enough Starbucks to make you feel right

  • at home.

  • But this is only one of several, very different Chinas.

  • A trip to a Tier 3 or 4 city, or, especially, a village in the country, paints a whole different

  • picture.

  • For example, just 15 miles outside Beijing and its 9th-tallest building in the world,

  • lies a very different kind of skyscraper: piles and piles of trash.

  • Some, eight or more stories tall.

  • Here, something like 160,000 locals collect, sort, and resell the city's twenty-five

  • thousand tonnes of trash a day.

  • Entire communities revolve around and survive on these landfills.

  • But, look closely, and you might notice something strange

  • Between the Chinese water bottles, tires and so on, are, say, German newspapers, British

  • grocery bags, and American milk jugs.

  • That's because, for decades, China has been buying the world's trash.

  • Since 1988, it's imported almost half of all plastic waste.

  • The U.S. alone has sent thousands of containers full of plastic every day.

  • Then, in 2017, China announced it didn't want any more.

  • Its standards became so strict that many countries suddenly had no place to put their garbage.

  • It all started piling up, and fast.

  • In Western states like Washington, Oregon, and California, recycling had to be sent to

  • the dump.

  • Ireland, which had been sending 95% of its plastic waste there, experienced a near-crisis.

  • So, why did China want your trash in the first place?

  • And why is it stopping now?

  • It's hard to overstate how much the economies of China and the United States are connected.

  • Unsurprisingly, China is the number one source of imports to the U.S., and it, China's

  • biggest customer.

  • Every week, hundreds of container ships make their way from Shanghai or Hong Kong, across

  • the Pacific, towards the American West Coast.

  • They deliver your car, your sofa, your dinner.

  • But, as you also may know, the U.S. doesn't have as much to send back.

  • Which, means, big, scary, negative numbers, and a lot of talk about soybeans.

  • This would be a major problem - ships would have to make the two-week return trip empty,

  • and thus, double their one-way prices, making everything more expensive.

  • Imagine how inefficient it would be if every airplane or car had to return from its trip

  • without passengers.

  • Oh wait, that's just called Uber.

  • The U.S. needs something to ship back to Asia.

  • Luckily, there is something we're really good at producing a lot of: trash!

  • Americans make up only 4% of the world's population, but we generate 25% of the world's

  • garbage and dominate 90% of your headlines.

  • You're welcome.

  • On average, each of us contributes 4.4 pounds of waste a day, for a total of 16 billion

  • diapers, 2 billion razor blades, and 220 million tires a year.

  • It also doesn't help that we order everything on Amazon.

  • And that tiny pack of gum arrives in a 4-foot boxinside another giant box, of course.

  • In fact, packaging takes up a third of the space of the average landfill.

  • Which, is cool and all when it magically disappears from your curb, but not so much when the city

  • wants to build the dump in your backyard.

  • Anywhere but there.

  • We Americans are great at buying stuff and turning it into trash but not as good at doing

  • something with it afterward.

  • High labor and transportation costs make it quite expensive to drive around the country

  • to sort, clean, and re-process.

  • Meanwhile, China has plenty of cheap labor and lots of demand for raw materials they

  • can manufacture new stuff with.

  • Plus, we've already got a bunch of humungous boats making the journey at low capacity.

  • As the saying goes: one man's trash is another country's cheap source of recyclable materials,

  • which may or may not be environmentally sustainable, but we'll get to that in a minute.

  • Thanks to good old supply and demand, shipping a 20-foot container from Shanghai to Los Angeles

  • might cost a thousand dollars.

  • The other way, four, five hundred.

  • Here the trade deficit works in our favor.

  • The U.S. gets rid of its garbage, and China gets cheap materials.

  • To see how it works, let's look at San Fransisco.

  • Waste is split into three separate bins.

  • Compost, like vegetables, grass, and napkins, accounts for about 9% of all municipal waste.

  • It's checked for contaminants, mixed, and sent 60 miles North to Vacaville, California,

  • where it's sold to farms and wineries as high-nutrient soil.

  • That's ideal.

  • But about half of all waste, is sent to the dump.

  • It gets picked up, sometimes moved to a temporary transfer station, and then hauled to a landfill,

  • where the plastic bag you used for a few seconds between the store and your car sits for 1,000

  • years.

  • Not that you should feelbad or anything.

  • The rest is mostly recycling.

  • Now, sorting it can get pretty expensive.

  • Buuuttt, it's hard enough to get people to recycle anything, much less when you make

  • them separate it.

  • So, San Fransisco, like many cities, uses single-stream recycling - everything from

  • paper, to plastic, metal, and glass, goes in a single bin, and then gets sorted at a

  • MRF, a Materials Recovery Facility.

  • Over 40 tons of waste is processed every hour at the 200,000 square foot Pier 96.

  • Tractors scoop piles of recycling onto conveyor belts, where it gets sorted by humans, mechanical

  • dividers, and optical scanners.

  • Apparently it's not uncommon for people to recycle a bowling ball.

  • Finally, the separated materials are sold and shipped around the world.

  • Sometimes, they move through several countries, making it hard to track exactly where it all

  • ends up.

  • For example, Mexico sends much of its plastic to the U.S., and the U.S. exports mainly to

  • China, often through Hong Kong.

  • So it's likely that even more of our trash than we think eventually ends up in China.

  • After being shipped thousands of miles across the Pacific, eaten or used, thrown away, collected,

  • and then making the whole journey back, much of this trash will end up just a few miles

  • away from where it was first manufactured in Southern China.

  • And then, it'll be recycled and go through it all again.

  • This is an extremely profitable business, It's even how Zhang Yin, nicknamed the Queen

  • of Trash, became one of China's richest women.

  • It worked so well, in fact, that nobody was prepared for a world any different.

  • But that started to change in 2013 with Operation Green Fence, in which China announced it would

  • start enforcing quality standards for imported trash.

  • Then, in 2017, the more aggressive sounding, National Sword - a crackdown on illegal smuggling.

  • Finally, the Blue Sky policy in 2018 added even tougher restrictions and a plan to ban

  • all recyclable imports by 2020.

  • For months, companies like Rogue Disposal and Recycling, in Medford, Oregon, had no

  • choice but to dump recycling in landfills.

  • Which, surprise, is not a great way to encourage more recycling.

  • Since then, U.S. exports to Thailand have increased by nearly 7,000%, along with Vietnam,

  • Indonesia, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

  • But, soon, they too started closing their doors - no one can or wants to replace China.

  • And that isn't such a bad thing.

  • It may actually be really good.

  • Until now, rich countries have had no incentive not to generate insane amounts of waste.

  • Actually, it's been quite profitable!

  • This could be a very good long-term wake-up call.

  • Despite complaints from the U.S. government, China has no obligation to import anyone's

  • garbage.

  • Like any export, trash is a product.

  • If demand changes, so must supply.

  • This is yet another sign of China's Great Economic Transition.

  • Trash is a remarkably good indicator of economic health.

  • Here's the amount of trash generated by each country, and here's their GDP.

  • One of the reasons China no longer wants your trash is that now has plenty of its own.

  • It's also part of Beijing's push to lower its pollution and clear its skies.

  • This year, China is expected to pass the U.S. and become the largest consumer market.

  • By 2030, it's expected to generate three times as much waste as the U.S.

  • And as China becomes more and more important on the world stage, all of us will fall into

  • two categories: those who understand it, for whom this is a great opportunity, and those

  • who are left behind.

  • My favorite book for getting a feel for what the country is really like and where it may

  • go in the future isChina in the 21st Centuryby Jeffrey Wasserstrom.

  • I read it while researching this video, and I recommend it - it's only 5 hours long

  • and you can listen to it on Audible!

  • Let's be real, we all have busy lives and it's kinda hard to find an hour or two during

  • the day where you can sit down and read.

  • But it's easy to put on an audiobook on the way to work or school, or while doing

  • chores, or writing long rambling YouTube comments.

  • Not that you guys would do that

  • What I like about this book, in particular, is that it's a nice, general overview of

  • China, It doesn't pretend to know the future, and it doesn't have any kind of agenda,

  • it's a straightforward, objective explanation.

  • Go to Audible.com/Polymatter or text polymatter to 500500 to start listening to this book

  • or whatever you're into for free!

  • Again, that's Audible.com/p-o-l-y-m-a-t-t-e-r or text p-o-l-y-m-a-t-t-e-r to 5-0-0-5-0-0.

This video is sponsored by Audible!

字幕と単語

動画の操作 ここで「動画」の調整と「字幕」の表示を設定することができます

B1 中級

中国はなぜあなたのゴミをもう要らないのか (Why China Doesnt Want Your Trash Anymore)

  • 54 2
    PENG に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
動画の中の単語