The After-effect of China’s Banning on Plastic Waste Import

Since 2018, China has banned import of 24 types of different category waste, including plastic waste, which caused waste crisis in many countries. They have felt unprecedented challenge and pressure from the sudden move of China on banning import of foreign waste that was supposed to transport to China.

China’s import of plastic waste has reached to its peak volume in 2012. From the import category, PE, PET and other types of plastic waste are the top three import waste that were mainly from countries like Germany, the US, UK, Japan, France, etc. So how should they handle those plastic waste after China’s banning policy?

15 out of 50 American states are suffering from the effect of China’s rejection on importing foreign waste since 2018.  Many recycled waste end up accumulating in warehouses and parking slots, and some states can only choose to have it landfilled. Other recycled waste has been exported to emerging market in the southeast Asia, however those southeast Asia countries couldn’t digest such big amount of recycled waste in a short time, thus many American regions had to choose incineration. The Covantaincinerator is one of the largest in the United States where incinerates 3510 tons of waste every day, most of which were transported from New York City and North Carolina by trucks and trains. Waste incineration doesn’t lift pollution away, on the contrary, it contributes pollution.

The UK and US have encountered the same problem. Serious plastic waste accumulation is on showing in the UK, so they have to incinerate and landfill more and more. Germany used to sell tens of thousands tons of waste to China each year, in which plastic waste made a huge proportion. Besides from this, electronic waste and waste paper were exported as well.  Back from now, due to the incapability to digest the waste within Germany, so the Germany Bundesverband der Deutschen Entsorgungswirtschaft (BDE) requires that the government should be taking this chances to invest on building domestic waste recycling system. However, waste recycling is under the administration of its regional affairs which would be hard to deal with as in a national level efficiently.

Same as in Japan. In present, many districts in Japan are covered with large amount of plastic waste. After China’s strict implementation of restricting plastic order on plastic import, since when it has caused many problems on processing those plastic waste, especially on the incompatible between the process capacity of plastic waste recycling facilities and plastic waste generation. One president from waste management industry in Kanto says that the plastic waste has been stocked up over 5 meters in his recycling station, which has exceeded the storage criterion of dangerous level according to the regulation of waste management act. More than half of the practitioners in Kanto have rejected to accept new incoming waste.

Along with constant accumulation of plastic waste and the build-up pressure of plastic waste management all over the world, every nation has fully speeded up in technical research and development about plastic waste recycling, in which chemical recycling of plastic waste has received wide attention. China, a big nation in traditional plastic waste management, are in the forefront position in such processing technology all over the world.


Industrial continuous plastic waste pyrolysis technical equipment developed by Niutech, the National Science and Technology Progress Award winner, has been promoted and applied worldwide. It has solved the problem of various type of plastics that are hard to decompose. And its treatment effect and environmental assessment have been verified by many countries, such as the US, EU, etc., as well as in being successfully applied over dozens of countries and regions.


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