The politics of plastic

Darius White seeks environmental justice in a world filled with plastic waste.

Darius White

Darius White knows the world is in the middle of a global waste crisis.

For years, China was the destination for recycling materials from the United States and Europe. Then China enacted the National Sword policy, banning the import of most plastics and other materials headed for its recycling plants.

The quality of the trash prompted the ban, White explains. Instead of being clean and sorted into recyclables, it was a jumble of garbage. As a result, the world lost its number one importer of recyclables, he adds.

“Trash is piling up in the United States and Europe. We’re being poisoned to death,” says White, a political science and geography double major, who is also minoring in GIS (geographic information sciences).

Darius White won the Dan Jones Writing Prize for Social Sciences.

But he sees a “green silver lining” — an opportunity to incentivize recycling collection and disposal by using technology to properly separate waste and follow the other country’s rules.

The information is all part of his blog as in intern with TU’s “Journal of International Affairs,” the oldest undergraduate-run journal of international affairs. He is also responsible for processing and copy-editing articles submitted to the journal and editing its website. 

Paul McCartney, associate professor of political science, invited him to the internship. “When I took his course in international law, he eased me into it, gave me confidence and reassurance,” White says. McCartney also nominated White’s paper for the Dan Jones Writing Prize.

White won Dan Jones Writing Prize for Social Sciences. His paper “A Case for Regional Courts: Kenya’s Post-Election Crisis” explored whether the International Criminal Court should cede jurisdiction to the East African Court of Justice following post-election genocide and human rights abuses. “Getting that $1,000 scholarship was a blessing,” White says.

White also earned the Drew Dedrick Scholarship and is a student member of the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee (MSGIC).

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