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10/17/2017: China’s done doing our recycling

10/17/2017: China’s done doing our recycling

Oct 17, 2017

At America's largest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, bales of plastic and paper are piling up. Once upon a time, they would have been packed and shipped to Asia, where they'd be turned into consumer goods and shipped…

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Stories From this episode

Weather Economy

Undocumented residents not eligible for FEMA cash payments after disasters

by Andy Uhler Oct 17, 2017
After Hurricane Harvey, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented people living in the Houston area will have to find financial relief in other ways.
Flooded homes following Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

What happened to the GOP’s deficit hawks?

by Adriene Hill Oct 17, 2017
The Senate is pushing ahead on a budget vote this week. That framework would move the GOP a step closer to the tax overhaul it has promised. The Senate plan allows for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts…

Trump’s tough NAFTA trade position leads to impasse at fourth round of talks

by Aaron Schrank Oct 17, 2017
The contentious fourth round of NAFTA negotiations concluded in Washington, D.C. today without a deal in sight. Trade reps from Canada and Mexico rejected outright a number of hard-line protectionist policies proposed by U.S. negotiators, proposals which Canada’s Foreign Affairs…

How much are 50,000 Amazon HQ2 jobs worth?

by Mitchell Hartman Oct 17, 2017
Call it “enticing” or “incentivizing.” Call it “begging” or “groveling.” What’s clear is the bidding war between cities and states to host Amazon’s second national headquarters is racing to its deadline Thursday. The offers of tax incentives, subsidies, favorable zoning,…

The economics of future technology ... explained with comics

by Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova Oct 17, 2017
Kelly and Zach Weinersmith investigate the not-too-distant future in “Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything.”
 Comic from “Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything.”

China wants nothing to do with America's trash

by Kai Ryssdal and Shaheen Ainpour Oct 17, 2017
It will no longer import recycled scrap from the U.S. So what do we do with it?
Scrap metal in Long Beach, California, waits to be shipped to Asia for recycling.
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages

More From This Episode

At America’s largest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, bales of plastic and paper are piling up. Once upon a time, they would have been packed and shipped to Asia, where they’d be turned into consumer goods and shipped back. But China has plenty of its own recycled materials now to sustain the manufacturing of goods, leaving the U.S. with a big problem: where’s it all going to go? Maybe it can be hidden in the giant $2.4 trillion hole that the GOP’s tax plan would leave in the budget (but it’s likelier to end up in storage for now.) The tax plan is a big flip-flop from the fiscal responsibility Republicans have been been preaching, but it’s not without precedent — historically, each side cares more about debt when they’re in the opposition. Plus, NAFTA negotiations, what’s really behind Amazon’s choice of location for their secondary headquarters and how Houston’s undocumented parents are struggling to receive federal aid for their children as the city recovers from Hurricane Harvey.

Music from the episode