"If China customs found a syringe, even if it's just one, in a bale of plastic, it's considered medical waste and the whole shipment would get rejected," he said. "And in paper, if they see too much plastic in the paper, also that could actually trigger a rejection in customs as well."A syringe is medical waste and has no business at all being in a plastic waste stream. Ever. The US would handle it that pile of plastic the same way, so for the Chinese to do so is also to be expected. I certainly wouldn't want to work with plastic contaminated with medical waste regardless of where ever in the world I was. And the same goes for plastic contaminating paper. That would gunk up any paper recycling plant in the US and the Chinese are not magically better than us in dealing with that waste.
Contaminated recycling streams like this are nothing more than garbage, pure and simple, and nobody loves our garbage. Either the streams need to be set up better in the first place or we will have to deal with it on our own.
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