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Need to Know

China Indicates Foreign Recyclables Shutdown Will Be Permanent


China signaled last week that its cessation of importing recyclable material from the United States and other countries will be permanent.

China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved changes to the country’s Solid Waste Law and said in a statement that the country intends to “gradually realize zero imports of solid waste.”

Since 2017 China has increasingly restricted imports of bottles, cans, cardboard, plastic, paper, scrap metal, electronics, and other waste material as a means of curbing pollution in the country.

China’s “National Sword” policy enacted in January 2018 officially banned the import of most plastics and other recyclable material that had been bound for Chinese recycling companies for processing.

During the quarter century up until the enactment of the National Sword policy, China’s recycling processors had been handling approximately half of the world’s recyclable waste.

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