China no longer the world's garbage dump as it plans to cut waste imports to zero this year
Since China banned the import of certain types of waste in 2017, those shipments have declined by 71 percent, the country’s environmental authorities have announced.
China took in almost 13.5 million tons of rubbish last year and expects to stop the shipments altogether in the next twelve months, according to Liu Youbin, spokesman for the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
“[China will] make all-out efforts to realize zero imports by the end of 2020,” Liu said as cited by Chinese media. He added that Beijing will continue to crack down on waste smuggling, and that the campaign, launched in 2019 by the General Administration of Customs, has already “yielded positive results.”
Some local recyclers who were dependent on foreign waste have already switched to the domestic market, while Beijing wants to build more waste-to-energy plants.
China’s waste ban upended global garbage flows, increasing the burden on neighboring nations that lack the necessary capacity. Other countries simply don’t want to recycle the bulk of the global garbage; recently, Malaysia sent 150 shipping containers loaded with plastic waste back to 13 countries, including Canada, the US and the UK. Earlier, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia also returned shipments of plastic waste to the West.
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