China Bans Plastic Waste.(China bag) So Where Will The World’s Trash End Up?
From January 2018, China’s government is issuing a recycled plastics import ban, in an attempt to cut down on millions of tonnes of plastic and other recyclables it receives every year. This change could have a catastrophic effect on how the world recycles and disposes of waste.
China, which is the world’s largest economy and the biggest user of scrap on the planet, will stop accepting shiploads of other countries’ plastic trash. That’s bad news for the recycling industry but good news for US chemicals companies who are reported keen to supply China with new plastics.
According to IndustryWeek, China accepted 51 per cent of global plastic scrap imports in 2016. The biggest chunk of that waste came from the US, where the majority of “recycled” plastics is actually shipped abroad to then be recycled. All of this waste has historically been used to fuel China’s manufacturing industry.
China will stop imports of recyclable waste from early next year, including mixed paper, plastic bottles and 24 types of solid waste, saying much of the waste it imports from other countries is too hazardous or expensive to recycle.
But where will all that waste go when China stops importing it?
With the world’s oceans already plagued by millions of tonnes of harmful plastic, this international problem is already endemic. With China pulling the plug on recycling, the plastic catastrophe is likely to come sooner rather than later unless major action is taken – either through a global taskforce or a new country stepping in to soak up the recycled plastics glut.