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The Ban On Foreign Garbage Has Triggered A Global Panic! Should This Pot Be Backed By China?

Dec 03, 2018

A year ago, China’s mainland’s sudden ban on “foreign garbage” completely made Australia unprepared. The waste of more than 500 million Australian dollars was “exported to domestic sales” overnight, which caused confusion in the Australian garbage disposal system.


China's import of foreign garbage has made a great contribution to the cleanliness of the world's environment. However, while gaining some economic benefits, the Chinese environment has also suffered severe trauma. These foreign garbage are both legally imported and recycled by illegal garbage disposal workshops. These workshops often burn indiscriminate waste on the spot or bury it at will, causing great pollution to the environment.

In addition, recyclable solid waste is often contaminated with high levels of highly polluting waste and hazardous waste. In order to maximize the utilization of raw materials, the recycling agency employs a large number of personnel for manual sorting, and harmful substances may also cause harm to the body of the sorting personnel.

In July 2017, China officially notified the WTO that it would ban the import of 24 types of foreign garbage from January 2018, including waste plastics from domestic sources (8 varieties), unsorted waste paper (1 variety), Waste textile raw materials (11 varieties), vanadium slag (4 varieties), etc. Before the end of 2017, China will completely ban the import of solid wastes with high environmental hazards and strong public reactions; before the end of 2019, it will gradually stop importing solid waste that can be replaced by domestic resources.

Nowadays, garbage that has nowhere to go is piled up in various countries, and the chaos is spreading all over the world. It has been reported that the impact of China's garbage import ban has also appeared in Japan: garbage processors have received a large number of commissions, but the processing capacity of many processors has reached the limit, and some garbage from factories has been filled with warehouses of middlemen. Consider relaxing the restrictions and improving the capacity of the processing facility to respond.

The United States and the European Union have proposed this so-called "problem" to the WTO. South Korea, Canada, and Australia have joined the ranks of "critics", and Japan has also expressed "concern." Jointly criticized China for not fully explaining the relevant prohibition measures.

China used to be the world's largest importer of resource waste. How much waste does developed countries export to China?

According to statistics from the United Nations, since 1988, China has received about half of the world's waste every year, including more than 7 million tons of waste plastics per year, worth billions of dollars. Nearly half of the plastic waste on Earth has been exported to China, and these recycled materials have been made into more plastic products. In the past 30 years, the United States has delivered more than 10 million tons of waste plastics to China. In 2016 alone, it exported 1.43 million tons of waste plastics to China, worth about 495 million US dollars. According to the British "Guardian" statistics, 2.7 million tons of waste plastics flow to China each year, accounting for two-thirds of the country's plastic waste production. 87% of the recycled plastics in the 27 member states of the European Union are exported directly or indirectly to China. China imports 619,000 tons of recycled materials annually from Australia, valued at 523 million US dollars. Most of these wastes landed from Hong Kong ports in China and were subsequently transported to garbage disposal stations in the southern part of mainland China.

The ban issued by China has caused the long-term export of plastic waste to China to be caught off guard and paid a price.

According to the report, the Korean garbage collection company announced that it will stop purchasing waste plastics, foam products and plastic bottles from April on the grounds of lower profits and no profit. This decision caused the community that signed the waste recycling agreement with the recycling company to be paralyzed. Many residents throw waste plastics or foam products in the recycling station, but then no one recycles them. Some residential property personnel subsequently prohibited residents from discarding plastic waste, and the two sides clashed.

Since China’s ban on the import of “foreign garbage”, the price of renewable waste in South Korea has plummeted. In 2012, the price of 602 won (about 3.6 yuan) of waste resin bottles per kilogram fell to 257 won in March this year; the price of waste plastics also dropped from 90 to 20 won.

Currently, about two-thirds of the waste in the United States is disposed of in its territory, and the remaining one-third is exported to 150 countries around the world. China is the largest waste exporter in the United States, accounting for about 40% of the total.

Many states on the West Coast of the United States have faced the problem of waste accumulation since January this year. A waste recycler in Oregon said in an interview with The New York Times at the end of January this year that his inventory has been "out of control" since the beginning of the year.

 Adina Adler, senior director of the American Waste Recycling Industry Association (ISRI), said in an interview with the 21st Century Business Herald in January this year that the standards promulgated by China are unprecedented, and it is necessary to adapt to this change within half a year. American companies are "almost impossible to achieve."

US waste recycling company E.L. Harvey & Sons piled up 3,000 bales of paper in the parking lot in a month, which were previously shipped to China.

According to the statistics of the American Association of Abandoned Metal Recycling Industry, in 2016 China imported a total of 5.6 billion US dollars worth of scrap metal products, 1.9 billion US dollars of waste paper (total 13.2 million tons) and 495 million US dollars of waste plastics (1.42 million tons).

Such a huge export volume has also spawned a huge industrial chain. The 155,000 jobs in the United States depend on US waste exports to China. The average annual salary of these workers is as high as 76,000 US dollars, and the total tax revenue is 3 billion US dollars.

After the ban was implemented, plastic waste from the garbage collection plant in the UK has also piled up into mountains. According to official statistics, British consumers use about 13 billion plastic bottles a year, of which more than 3 billion are not recycled, or incinerated, landfilled, abandoned, or entered the marine ecosystem.

Faced with more of these rubbish, the UK is actively looking for alternatives to China's junk export pick-up man, and is also actively calling for a reduction in the use of plastic products.

When other countries face the problem of distressed garbage, they should reflect deeply. Developing countries are not garbage collection sites in developed countries. The earth is all human. Every earth person has the responsibility to do environmental protection work. Every country has the responsibility to do garbage disposal work.

Take the time to blame others, it is better to face up to the problem and try to find a solution!