Why Has China Banned Solid Waste Imports?
With the ban coming to recycling materials, waste plastics operators will actively turn their steps to internal market. That’s going to be an incentive for the recycling of household plastic wastes.
China is the world’s largest producer of plastics and therefore the largest consumer of plastic scraps. Since the 1990s, China has been importing and recycling waste plastics, papers, and textiles. Although the inexpensive price of waste materials is a cost-reducing effect, the waste materials are very harmful to the environment. Plastics, for example, hardly decompose in 500-1000 years. Due to the high environmental risk, China increases its efforts to take control of the waste industry every year. Therefore, as of January 1, 2018, China banned imports of 24 kinds of solid waste in four main categories. These four main categories consist of waste plastics, papers, iron-steel slags, and textiles. This decision will have a very significant impact on the internal market and the external market.
Impacts on China’s domestic market
With the ban coming to recycling materials, waste plastics operators will actively turn their steps to internal market. That’s going to be an incentive for the recycling of household plastic waste.
- The ban is due to the environmental protection and health concerns the internal audit is continuously increasing. In an environment where ecological sanctions exist, and internal control is high, only good companies will be able to survive and become stronger.
- Another effect will be on raw material costs. Solid wastes are cheaper than raw materials. Prohibition of importing solid waste will increase costs.
Impact on the international market
- China is the world’s largest importer of waste plastics. After halting imports of waste plastics in large scale, China will create significant changes in the import and export activities of waste plastics at international level. In the beginning, the enterprises that chose China as the main trading partners must select other countries as exporters, but it is challenging to find another market that is equivalent to China’s plastic waste trade volume. States need to find new methods in order to decay solid wastes in their hands.
China imported the most solid waste from the US and Japan. At the same time, the UK also sold a significant proportion of its solid waste to China. These three countries will be the most affected countries of China’s new ban.