Should we expect a decline in the recyclables industry?

A few years back while interning for the Jakarta Globe, I wrote about Jakarta's sanitation and recycling system. What I found especially unique and new to me in researching for this article, was the entrepreneurial, non-government supported recycling process. Jakarta has no blue or green bins, provides no information on recycling, and does not teach its youngins' the benefits and process of recycling (recall the ubiquitous phrase: "Recycle, Reduce, Reuse"). Au contraire, the main goal behind recycling in Indonesia does not include social welfare-- the individual trash pickers who sort through the city's recyclable materials are motivated by profits to be made. As a market exists there for recyclable raw materials, individuals collect plastics, glass containers and paper to make a profit. Thus, the local government finds little incentive- socially or monetarily- to interfere with this seemingly successful recyclables system. Why spend government funds on a project that already works privately?

Flash-forward to today, and to this article I spotted in my twitter feed, which referenced this article.

Is the recycling industry in developing countries over? I can't imagine. Is the US' recessionary decrease in consumption to lead to a significant decline in individuals in developing countries sifting through garbage for recyclable, profitable materials? I'm not entirely convinced. Could the US have such a global impact as to reverberate through the the local economy of a country thousands of miles away, changing the system entirely?

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