Also: How to kill 11,000 parking spaces, and the economic power of arts and culture.
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What We’re Following
Waste case: Before 2018, about 40 percent of the United States’ paper, plastics, and other recyclables went to China. But early last year, that changed: China banned many scrap materials and tightened contamination standards, sending shock waves through the global recyclables market. Many municipal recycling programs in the U.S. have struggled to keep up with the waste they can’t ship away, sending more materials to incinerators or refusing curbside pickup altogether.
Even though Americans recycle more now than ever, the mistakes they make can increase “contamination,” which makes it costly for municipalities trying to sell recyclables in bales. The crisis has led cities to step up efforts to teach citizens about what can and cannot be recycled. CityLab’s Nicole Javorsky went to a local recycling center to learn how municipalities are adapting to the change. “Many Americans are either aspirational recyclers or they’re confused recyclers,” as one solid waste pro puts it. Read her story: How American Recycling Is Changing After China’s National Sword
It’s official: New York agrees to congestion pricing for some of the busiest areas in Manhattan.
More on CityLab
Delivery workers and dogs are classic nemeses. But take one look at Jason (Jay) Hardesty’s Instagram account and it's clear that they can be best friends, too. The 30-year-old UPS driver in New Orleans is the human behind #pupsofjay, a hashtag he created to document all the friendly canines he meets. After writer Jami Attenberg tweeted about Hardesty’s photos posing with pups last week, she unknowingly unleashed the kind of pure joy the internet had been itching for. CityLab’s Linda Poon caught up with Hardesty by phone to learn more about his fur-filled delivery route. Read: A Perk of Delivering Mail: Meeting All The Good Dogs
What We’re Reading
The landlord wants facial recognition in a rent-stabilized building. Why? (New York Times)
The opioid epidemic is increasingly killing black Americans. Baltimore is ground zero. (Vox)
Old buildings house fewer people than they did 50 years ago. What happened? (Slate)