Waste land

June 21, 2019

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The coastal lowlands along Malaysia’s side of the Strait of Malacca are a mostly lush place, studded with fat palms and forest canopies dripping with vines. But over the past year and a half, black pillars of smoke have appeared above the treetops. We investigate how plastic waste American municipalities send for recycling, is piling up in illegal dumps thousands of miles away. Also, tiny plastic pellets, called 'nurdles' are the product of plastics producers, but why are these pellets appearing on the US Gulf Coast?; Americans have few options when it comes to recycled tissue products and that's having a devastating impact on Canada's northern forests; Meal kits are becoming very popular in the US, but are they helping us to reduce waste? (Plastic waste at an abandoned factory in Jenjarom, a district of Kuala Langat, outside Kuala Lumpur. From grubby packaging engulfing small Southeast Asian communities to waste piling up in plants from the US to Australia, China's ban on accepting the world's used plastic has plunged global recycling into turmoil. Credit: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images)