In previous posts, we've discussed China's ban on imported recyclables and how it is affecting the recycling industry in the United States. However, this is not a problem that is unique to our home country; it is affecting countries all over the world. In the past, China accepted more than half of the world's recyclables for processing, so this new ban is creating quite an issue for the countries that export those materials. Let's take a look at the global impact that China's ban has had since it was implemented on January 1.
Landfills and Recycling Yards
Due to the ban, recyclable materials are piling up in landfills and recycling yards around the world, creating bottlenecks in the recycling process as the materials can't get moved out fast enough to keep up with demand. In London, some waste disposal sites have even had to pay to have materials removed. Similar trends have appeared in other countries as well, including Germany, Ireland and Canada, to name a few. If something doesn't change soon, these materials may need to be incinerated, although this will hopefully be the last resort, as it is incredibly harmful to the environment.
Port cities like Hong Kong are struggling as well. Ships transporting recyclable materials are being held up as China continues to work on the infrastructure to enforce the ban. This creates delays for other shipping jobs because the ships cannot unload their cargo to take on new shipments. Even when some shipments are unloaded, they are just piling up in the shipping yards until China can figure out what to do with them.
Other Recycling Countries
Of course, China is not the only country that accepts recyclables from other countries. Other countries that take recyclable materials, including Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia, are seeing huge increases in the amount of waste being delivered. They are not equipped to handle this sudden increase in demand, creating more slow-downs and complications. Hopefully these nations will be able to catch up with the demand, but for now, the problem remains.
The effects of China's ban are not all negative, though. England's Prime Minister, Theresa May, has vowed to reduce the country's reliance on plastic materials. In a recent speech, she urged grocery stores and other retailers to focus on products with minimal packaging, even creating entire aisles in their stores that are plastic-free. This will reduce plastic waste and also put an emphasis on fresh, natural food, improving public health while also helping the environment.
Call Central Kentucky Fiber Resources for More Information
Here at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, we recognize that this new ban can seem a bit confusing at first. Our associates are well-versed in the details and implications of the ban and will gladly answer any questions you may have about how the ban might affect your business. Get in touch with us today to learn more.