The latest revision of China’s solid waste management policies hints the country’s gradual proceeding towards zero import of solid waste.
Recently, the top lawmaking body of China – National People’s Congress Standing Committee assembled to discuss and pass various pieces of legislation, including revision of solid waste management policies of the country. According to the Bureau of International Recycling’s analysis, this revision has expressed the country’s intent to move towards the zero import of solid waste.
However, the import note is only one subpart of the revised laws of waste management. The other reforms include the reduction in single-use plastic production, reinforcing the domestic capacity of recycling, and ensuring additional producer responsibility for specific products.
China’s actions towards banning solid waste imports
- In the year 2018
The initiative for zero imports of solid waste was first put forward by China as a further step to the policy that reduced import of the recovered material and shuttered doors to the import of mixed paper and scrap plastic.
- In the year 2019
All the significant stakeholders of the industry indicated a delay in a legal ban on the import of various recovered materials and OCC.
- In the year 2020
Officials came forward with the country’s goal of putting an end on all materials deemed waste imports before the year ends.
Though China has hinted to end all waste imports, the country, for now, is approving the licenses for importing recovered fiber. It has announced six rounds of permits that allow importing recovered fiber, up to a total of 4.5 million metric tons in 2020.
While the first round import started in the early part of the year with a remarkable quantity, amounting to 2.8 million metric tons, it dropped speedily in subsequent rounds. Only 29,000 metric tons of recovered fiber’s import was permitted in February and March. The imports again seem to notch back up with 1.3 million metric tons in April.