One of our biggest problems is trash and now with China refusing most of our recyclables, this problem is coming home to roost with disastrous consequences. Instead of being recycled, most things that can be are actually ending up in landfills and at incinerators which means, we need to be way more aware of what we are throwing out and how to reduce that.
China imposed stricter guidelines of foreign recyclables starting just this year, in part to grapple with it’s own garbage issues, which is great! Focus on that problem! But that leaves the rest of the world without adequate solutions to our own garbage issues. In the States, that means that it’s often going to landfills (no good for the planet) or being burnt in which releases toxins into the air that make people sick (and also aren’t great for the planet).
Because of where these “solutions” are often located, the health impacts to poorer communities is high. So not only is it really poor way to dispose of waste, but it’s actively harmful. That’s not great. We can all help by being mindful of our shopping and waste habits and reducing these amounts. Acting now can help everyone.