These are especially turbulent times for our country. But lost in the whirlwind of scandal and large-scale policy proposals is a problem to which very few people are paying attention.

America has long relied on China for export of recyclable materials, allowing for the prevalence of easy and cheap municipal recycling programs across the country. There is little doubt that programs like these are the backbone of building good environmental outcomes, and a vast majority of Americans can actively participate in them.

However, China recently imposed much stricter policies on how much and what kinds of items it will import. This has caused municipal governments to scramble to find ways to dispose of recyclable materials that they collect. In some instances, recycling costs have skyrocketed, and in others, tragically, municipalities are simply resorting to sending these items to a common landfill.

I urge readers to contact your state and local representatives to see what they are doing about this problem. And I urge our representatives to enact policies that will prevent the regression of American environmentalism, such as building infrastructure to process recyclable materials and incentivizing minimal waste.

The future of our environmental policy is being heavily debated right now at the federal level, but let us act and make sure we hold the ground that has already been gained.

Jacob Baughman


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