26th July 2017
CHINA has notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it plans to ban recyclable paper and plastic entering the country, which would be a major blow America's vast recycling industry.
President Xi Jinping heads a committee called the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms which has been focussing on these imports with a view to stopping them.
The US recycling group RISI says 55 per cent of exported recovered paper goes to China. Brent Bell, vice president of recycling for Waste Management, said China is the "predominant player in the export market", adding that the industry was "dependent on China for moving of materials".
The import ban, which will enter into force by the end of 2017, will also cover slag from steel making, and many kinds of waste wool, ash, cotton and yarn, Reuters reports.
"We found that large amounts of dirty waste or even hazardous waste are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials. This polluted China's environment seriously," China's WTO filing said.
Last year it imported 7.3 million tonnes of waste plastics, valued at US$3.7 billion, accounting for 56 per cent of world imports. Apart from Hong Kong, the biggest sources of that plastic waste were Japan and the United States, which accounted for roughly 10 per cent.