China Bans 24 Types of Waste Imports Starting in 2018
Many people are unaware of the extensive chain of services that work together to convert recyclable waste back into new, usable products. At Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, we have built a thriving business around a commitment to playing a vital role in that cycle. We serve our customers by assisting them in identifying, collecting and marketing their recyclable waste. A recent announcement from China may have a significant impact on American recycling, and we would like to share the details of this change.
China Notifies WTO of Intent to Limit Waste Imports
China is one of the world's largest importers of recyclable waste. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, China imported approximately $5.6 billion in various scrap commodities from the United States in 2016. In the recently issued notice to the World Trade Organization, China stated that it would no longer accept 24 different types of solid waste imports after the end of 2017. According to Chinese officials, that change was made to protect the environment and human health and safety for the Chinese population.
What Exactly is Being Banned?
Some of the items on the list of banned materials are straightforward and include vanadium slag, ash containing arsenic, waste from man-made fibers and plastic waste originating from living sources. Other categories are not clearly defined, including waste textile materials, waste from plastics and unsorted paper.
Why is This Ban Being Issued?
The recently announced ban is the result of China's concern that some of the waste materials that are exported to China contain significant amounts of contamination. Waste shipments have been found to contain hazardous materials and to have unapproved waste types mixed in with shipments of acceptable materials.
What Will Happen Next?
There has been a measure of concern over how a Chinese ban on certain recyclable waste products might affect the U.S. waste market. This is understandable, considering that an estimated 155,000 jobs are tied to the export of waste materials. We ship around one-third of our total recyclable waste to overseas markets, and China is by far the biggest importer of American waste materials. However, it is important to understand that the ban is being issued to address dirty or hazardous imports. American waste export practices include numerous provisions to protect against such contamination, and the materials we export are held to a high standard. In addition, China relies upon American waste materials to support their extensive manufacturing industry.
At Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, our team makes every effort to stay on top of changes within our industry. We will continue to follow this matter as China clarifies the type of products that are included in the ban. In addition, we will continue to work hard to ensure that the products we collect and ship are as clean as possible and free from contamination that could negatively impact the environment.