Since the 1990s, China has accepted waste paper, discarded plastic and unwanted metals from other countries to help power its export-driven manufacturing boom. But now, the country is cracking down on what it’s calling “foreign garbage,” raising health and environmental concerns.
In July, China signaled its intent to forbid 24 kinds of solid wastes by the end of 2017. And just last month, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) gave notice of adoption of new contamination standards to the World Trade Organization.
And while this move technically hurts the recycling industry, it’s also opening the doors for some new opportunities. For example, China has begun buying brand new plastic to replace all the recycled scrap it was previously buying, which is good news for U.S. chemical makers that are looking to find markets for its materials.
Bloomberg has more:
China is upending the global plastics market.
The world’s biggest user of scrap has stopped accepting shiploads of other countries’ plastic trash as it phases in a new ban. That’s bad news for the recycling industry, as China has been a major consumer of salvaged materials it processes into resin that ends up in pipe, carpets, bottles and other cogs of modern life.
China has begun buying brand new plastic to replace all the recycled scrap -- and that’s great news for U.S. chemical makers such as DowDuPont Inc., which are scrambling to find markets for millions of tons of new production amid an industry investment binge. U.S. exports of one common plastic are expected to quintuple by 2020.