China doesn’t want to Be the trash of the World Anymore

Since the beginning of the year, China has banned all wastes from outside its territory. All of this is to protect its environment and the health of its population. This decision comes to mind when we know that China is one of the most polluted countries in the world.

waste China

China wants to put its stuff in order

It is now confirmed that China no longer wants to be the “garbage pit” of the world. On July 18, the Chinese Ministry of the Environment told to the World Trade Organization (WTO) its decision to prohibit the entry of 24 categories of solid waste into its territory. One of the sectors most affected by this decision is plastic. Indeed, plastics were particularly indexed with 8 families put on the red line, namely: sorted, mixed or “washed” plastics. This measure also applies to mixed paper, certain textile materials, and slag, oxide crusts and other waste from the manufacture of iron or steel. This ban could be effective by the end of 2017 and is justified by the Chinese government’s want to protect China’s environmental interests and the health of its people. A decision that made panics the world.

Now, China recognizes the damage caused by external waste.

For many years, China has always ingested an unimaginable amount of waste, then recycled it and fed its growth at lower cost without worrying about the quality of the waste imported and the damage that it could cause over the years.

China is now the largest importer of waste


Indeed, China is now the largest importer of waste. In 2015, it consumed 49.6 million tons of solid waste out of the 180 million tons exported worldwide for a value of $ 86 billion. The scrap metal Constitute the bulk of exports (87 million tons in 2015), paper (57.5 million tons), non-ferrous metals (16.3 million tons) and plastics (11.8 million tons).

A “devastating impact” for the subsidiaries

trash China

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Many actors in the sectors are very concerned about the consequences of such a decision. In particular, the International Bureau of Recycling (BIR) responded by sending a letter to the WTO to highlight “the serious impact that such a ban would have on the global recycling industry” and to ask the Chinese government to ” reconsider their position “. 


For the US, the world’s largest exporter of waste, the announcement is a disaster highlighted by Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, an organization that brings together the major US players in the sector.

Europe is also very concerned by this decision and is already seeing the doors of a fairly lucrative market close. Indeed, this market represents 50% of waste exports. An enormous shortfall in prospects, coupled with an emergency to be addressed.

A highly devastated recycling market

This is very bad news for all the recycling subsidiaries which are already facing a sluggish economic climate due to lower prices for “fresh” raw materials and a supply that exceeds demand. But this decision could have serious consequences for the global waste industry as a whole.

The United States and Europe could be particularly affected by such a decision of China. The former exported 42.8 million tons of waste in 2015, for a total value of $ 23.7 billion, including $ 5.6 billion for metals, paper, and plastics. 

Moreover, it is largely in China that Europe sells more than 50% of its exports of waste, including plastic films or paper and cardboard.

The latest measure announced as a result of the announcement is the National Sword program. It is a program to closely monitor waste imports by limiting the licenses granted to Chinese factories and closing those that do not respect the environmental standards.

Read also: How to Market your Water Filter in China

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