What Do We Owe China

Last night I was talking to a close friend and she happened to mention a story she read about how China was extracting lead from the old computers and other electronic devices we send them. It reminded me of a story I had watched last Sunday on NBC. Chris Hansen did a story on counterfeit drugs called “Inside the world of Counterfeit Drugs“. He explained that such drugs as Viagra and other legitimate drugs were being manufactured illegally in countries such as China. These illegal drug counterfeiters were selling the “drugs” on the internet and even managed to get them distributed to your neighborhood drug store. Most of these illegal counterfeits were made from common household goods such as drywall or cardboard. Thousands upon thousands of illegal “drugs”, even though they aren’t really drugs, are sold and shipped to the United States on a daily basis.

This reminded me of a load of recycled paper I picked up in Montana several months ago. I was curious to see what kind of paper was being recycled. I watched as the loader placed a bail of paper into my trailer and asked if I could look at one. The first thing that I noticed was that there were several legal documents bound in the bundle. I pulled one out to see if what I thought I saw was real. To my astonishment, it was a legal brief from a recent trial! I found medical records, credit reports and other legal documents which were carelessly thrown away in the trash! I later asked the loader what the receiver intended on doing with this load of paper. He told me that the bundles are loaded into shipping containers in Tacoma and shipped to China for further “processing”. I have to wonder, were the bails ever put through a shredder before being loaded on a container for China? Once in China, they have the ability to sift through our private papers and gather whatever information they choose to keep! Information about court cases, social security numbers, account numbers, banking information, etc. is at their fingertips.

I am totally in favor of recycling our paper and cardboard, but we as citizens of the United States have the responsibility to guard our private information from prying eyes. Could you imagine if someone in China got a hold of your credit card number or bank account information and sold it on the internet? Worse yet, your credit card could be wiped out and your credit history ruined before you even knew what happened. This should serve as a warning, just because you throw your private papers into a recycling bin, you shouldn’t assume that they are safe. You should always shred your private papers at home before recycling. At work, make sure your office has an approved recycling and shredding program before you throw away someone elses information.

I’m just a truck driver, but you would be surprised at the things I see and the carelessness I witness on a daily basis. Lets not feed the fire and let countries such as China take advantage of us, whether it be illegal drugs or identity theft.

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