The Atlantic Daily: You Can't Recycle This

Why American recycling is in crisis. Plus how 2020 candidates are differentiating themselves, the Trump administration's new abortion restrictions, and more

Brian Snyder / Reuters

What We’re Following

Yesterday’s March 4 edition of The Atlantic Daily incorrectly linked to an Oscars photo gallery instead of a story on America’s forgotten fruit. Apologies to all readers looking for the story on pawpaws. It is here.

In a lopsidedly packed Democratic primary, candidates are angling for any way to get an edge. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wants to differentiate herself by eschewing the chummy fundraisers and phone calls with rich donors that traditionally have helped bankroll most campaigns. It’s a risky move, but one that could give her an advantage over other candidates who avoid such a purity test. After Bernie Sanders’s scrappy showing in 2016, aides to the Vermont senator are hounding him to make over one of his distinguishing features: his grumpiness. The move could help him broaden his support this time around.

A new rule from the Trump administration could get conservatives one step closer to a long-held goal: defunding Planned Parenthood. Clinics that receive federal funding under the Title X program will no longer be allowed to perform abortions in the same facilities where they see other patients. It’s a major blow to Planned Parenthood, which operates about 40 percent of Title X clinics nationwide, since some of them will now need to pay for expensive facility upgrades to keep their doors open. Though there’s no major risk of Planned Parenthood outposts closing en masse because of the change—which goes into effect in 60 days—offices could reduce hours and staff, the burden of which will fall most severely on low-income women.

The empty water bottles you toss in those blue recycling bins might actually be heading to the landfill. For years, tons and tons of recycled materials in the United States were shipped to China—until last year, when China restricted the import of certain recyclables. Unable to fork up the now higher prices of recycling, some cities are simply throwing it all away. The best way to fix the recycling problem is simply to get people to consume less, but so far that’s easier said than done. For example, Keurig K-Cups, the single-serve coffee pods, have soared in popularity in recent years, but are wildly wasteful, since they they aren’t biodegradable or recyclable. The world produces about 10 tons of plastic every second, and there are traces of plastic pollution in nearly all of Earth’s nooks and crannies, including the deepest ocean trenches.

Tell us about your daily plastic consumption. Have you found ways to cut down? Are you likely to change your habits, knowing that so much doesn’t get recycled?

As always, we want to hear from you: Write to us, and we may feature your response on our website and in future editions of The Atlantic Daily.

Evening Reads

The renowned London chef Yotam Ottolenghi is grappling with what Brexit could mean for his slate of restaurants, since most of the ingredients are sourced from outside the United Kingdom.

“As Britain prepares to leave the EU—with no agreement ensuring an unimpeded flow of goods between the two yet in place—both sides are ramping up their no-deal preparations: a scenario rife with fears of supply-chain disruptions, increased food prices, and economic uncertainty. Ottolenghi fears the situation could upset the country’s esteemed food scene, as well its internationalist culture that has allowed his restaurants and others to thrive.”

→ Read the rest

Since Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her bid for president, allegation after allegation have surfaced about her harsh treatment of her staff. Some have cast aside the news reports as evidence of a sexist double standard. But that misses the point, Caitlin Flanagan argues:

“It’s shameful to humiliate and mistreat employees, no matter your gender. It’s unacceptable to be so unable to control your emotions that you throw things toward co-workers, and despicable to do it to subordinates who are afraid of you. Trying to sell cruelty and pathological behavior as a feminist victory is yet another reason that so many women who care deeply about equality don’t identify themselves as feminists.”

→ Read the rest

Urban Developments

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing urban dwellers around the world. Claire Tran shares today’s top stories:

In a crowded field for the 2020 presidency, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is certainly an underdog. Can his unique brand of homegrown, midwestern politicking win over voters nationwide? There’s one issue in particular on which he aims to stand out.

Lighting, sound-deflecting surfaces, tall rooms—all of these elements can influence a deaf person’s ability to communicate. Here’s how one university is helping design a better, more accessible city.

During last year’s brutal winter, a Twin Cities mall invited people and their dogs to walk indoors each weekend. The event was extremely popular … and, in the end, that was also its undoing.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Subscribe to the CityLab Daily newsletter.

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