In fact (prior to the ban at least) there was a huge industry in China recycling plastics. It's not pretty stuff, but let's not pretend people were buying plastics just to throw them out. Look up the story of We'nan County for example.
From what I've heard the buyers in China have just moved to other places like Malaysia to continue the same business. They are buying plastics to recycle them and make money off that. It's nasty stuff but it is economically motivated.
In a country like Malaysia or Thailand with lax regulation, corruption and poor enviroment standards it is an opportunity for some and problem for all.
> Some attributed it to the periodic air pollution Malaysia suffers when farmers burn crops in neighboring Indonesia. But Pua, a chemist, knew better. Over the next several weeks, she and a few others traced the smell to a growing number of factories that had cropped up on the outskirts of the town of 30,000 and were taking in truckloads of plastic.
Some of the crude facilities were tucked into oil palm plantations or surrounded by walls of tin sheets. Others made no effort to evade notice.
> Driving home from dinner one evening in June, Pua saw smoke rising from a large plant right along the highway — and was hit with that same noxious odor.
“They were doing it every day,” she said. “We felt helpless.”
> In July, after months of ignoring her complaints, local officials shut down 34 illegal recycling plants in Kuala Langat, prompting a national outcry that resulted in a three-month pause on new plastic waste imports. About 17,000 metric tons of waste was seized, but is too contaminated to be recycled. Most of it is likely to end up in a landfill.
Why would anyone pay someone to accept a trash shipment? Why wouldn't you just dump it at source?
> you get paid to accept trash shipment, you pretend to process it (on paper) and then you simply incinerate or dump trash.
Nowhere in the article does it mention this, what reference do you have for this actually happening?
AFAICT the article doesn't have anything establishing that the plastic being "dumped" is being anything other than imported to be recycled. It's dirty, polluting recycling, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make. There is an economic incentive; the article even mentions how profitable plastic recycling can be.
Because it’s either illegal or expensive to do so at the source.
Here's a quote for landfill rates: $40/ton. Do the math yourself, plastics aren't heavy. Much cheaper than sending it in a container across the world. Unless somebody is paying at the other end, of course.
> The law was passed in 2005, but it didn't take effect until today. It adds plastic bottles and two other items -- wooden pallets and oil filters -- to a long list of items that are already banned from the state's landfills. Among the items already banned are aluminum cans and tires.
If you're thinking people are paying ~ $1,200/container to ship plastics to Malaysia without anyone paying on the other end, it would have to be pretty darn hard to throw stuff out in the U.S. And clearly it's not.
The stuff in the news is fraud, the same as if you ordered something from Amazon, paid for it, and you didn't get what you paid for.