Why China Isn't Taking America's Garbage Anymore—Literally

China's expanding middle class is changing the world. The results are a global recycling dilemma.

Credit: Getty Images.

Most of us don’t think of what happens to the plastic items we put in the recycling bin. It’s a matter of out of sight, out of mind. Some believe manufacturers turn them all into new products, but is that the case? What really happens after that plastic bottle leaves your hand? In truth, only 9.5% of all plastic in the U.S. is recycled. Surprisingly, 15% is burned for electricity or heat.

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