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Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling

Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling
11, 2018
LONDON — Ever since China announced last year that it no longer wanted to be the "world’s garbage dump," recycling about half of the globe’s plastics
and paper products, Western nations have been puzzling over what to do when the ban went into effect, which it did on Jan. 1.
upset of the flow of global recyclables." Now, he said, he is hoping to export waste to countries like Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Malaysia — "anywhere we can" — but "they can’t make up the difference." In Britain, Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of the British waste disposal firm, O’Donovan Waste Disposal, said
that "the market has completely changed" since China’s decision went into effect. that a major
The United States exports more than 13.2 million tons of scrap paper
and 1.42 million tons of scrap plastics annually to China, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has reported.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, which sent 80 percent of its recycling to China, Matthew Keliher, the city’s manager of solid waste, said he had
largely found alternatives to accept plastic, except for the low-grade plastic film that is used to make shopping bags and for wrapping.
China’s ban covers imports of 24 kinds of solid waste, including unsorted paper
and the low-grade polyethylene terephthalate used in plastic bottles, as part of a broad cleanup effort and a campaign against "yang laji," or "foreign garbage." It also sets new limits on the levels of impurities in other recyclables.
China had been processing at least half of the world’s exports of waste paper, metals
and used plastic — 7.3 million tons in 2016, according to recent industry data.