So you’ve heard how SWESTEP, Green Fund Finance’s flagship project, can recycle solid organic waste and plastics. But does the world really need another recycling program? Afterall, if you’ve been on this planet for more than 20 years, you’ve witnessed the rapid proliferation of recycling bins to even some of the most unlikely corners of this planet.
Until just a few years ago, China was the major destination for the contents of the world’s recycling bins. China charged the governments of the world a fee to accept their waste and further profited by reselling whatever recycled products they could create from the waste. With its once vast peasant population, cheap labor allowed shear human-power, often without machines or automation, to hand sort millions of tons of waste, thus supporting a profitable industry.
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. The subsequent and sustained boom of China’s economy lifted millions out of poverty, created a large and affluent middle-class, raised conditions for workers, and fledged its very own environmental movement. Along with it, dwindling profits from its recycling economy and population unwilling to accept the world’s waste.
The Chinese government’s about-face has left the world reeling. Unable to shoulder the burden themselves, many city governments and municipalities have already suspended their recycling programs and many more are on the chopping block. At the same time industry companies have raced to find new governments willing to accept their waste in an attempt to keep costs low. The effect, reported in Reuters and by the Center for Public Integrity in partnership with PRI’s The World, has triggered a race to the bottom of ethical and environmental standards. Imagine a rural community, living largely without plastics, suddenly being poisoned by plastics produced for single service for affluent nations thousands of miles away. For example, communities in Malaysia have been plagued by plumes of noxious black smoke and contaminated aquifers. The culprit: illegal plastic scrap recyclers forced out of China simply torching their loads as the quickest and easiest way to off-load their waste. Complaints from community members go unanswered when the officials in charge of enforcement are paid-off in bribes
Indeed, the world is in dire need for new ways to recycle. The current system is ineffective, unsustainable and unprofitable, unless morally and environmentally corrupt. Green Fund Finance is committed to connecting investors to projects like SWESTEP to return profit and integrity to a system the world dreadfully needs.