Jeffrey Yoskowitz reports:

In a bad economy, it's often the good environmental practicesusing energy-efficient light bulbs, insulating homes, driving less, eating less meatthat end up prevailing, in part because they save people money. But that's actually not true of recycling, which, for better or worse, is intimately tied to the health of international marketsand the willingness of countries like China to buy our recycled materials. Right now, demand for those materials has shriveled up, which has been a huge blow to recycling plants. "We were in the red by December," says John Haas, the recycling coordinator of Ocean County, New Jerseyand it's the same story throughout North America.

And asks an important question:

Is recycling wholly dependent on the reckless consumerism that is, in turn, responsible for many of our environmental problems today? Do, say, paper recycling and other eco-traditions here in the United States depend entirely on China's continued breakneck growth?

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