Over the past year, we've been covering the ongoing developments in China's ban on imported recycling materials. We want to keep you abreast of the latest changes so that you have an understanding of what they might mean for your organization and industry. Although China intends to ban all imported waste by the year 2020, the country is still allowing some types of recyclable materials to be imported. For 2019, this includes certain fiber materials. Here's what you need to know about the latest happenings with regards to the ban's progress.
Some Fiber Materials Still Being Allowed into China
Although it is progressing towards an all-out ban in an effort to protect China's developing recycling industry, the government has given out permits to allow 11.5 million tons of fiber to be imported in 2019. This is down from about 17.7 million tons in 2018. So far this year, China has imported about 8 million tons of recyclable fiber. These materials come from the United States, as well as other countries throughout Europe, with about half coming from U.S.-based exporters.
While China is still allowing fiber materials into the country, including old corrugated cardboard, it has not allowed any plastic recyclables to be imported this year, nor has it issued any permits to allow plastic imports. The rate of issuing fiber permits has slowed from last year as well, cutting their frequency nearly in half. Although China may not necessarily meet its goal of a complete recyclable import ban by 2020, it is making significant strides in that direction.
Internal Waste Management Changes in China
In addition to regulating recyclable imports, China is also working on updating its domestic laws in the area of waste management. As China's government shifts more of its focus to environmental policies, it is reviewing waste laws to help support the changes the country needs to make in order to make its waste management practices more sustainable.
These regulatory changes will place increased pressure on manufacturers in China, urging them to create packaging using recyclable or biodegradable materials. This way, the country can adopt a circular design for its production and waste processes, minimizing the impact on landfills. It will also force companies to be more innovative in the materials they use in an effort to keep up with the changing regulations.
Finally, China's government is seeking to restrict the use and production of many plastic products. The government will continue to promote alternative materials that are more eco-friendly in an effort to further regulate and restrict plastic waste.
Stay on Top of the Latest Changes
In the coming months, the team here at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources will continue to keep you posted on the latest developments in China's efforts to ban recyclable imports, along with what those changes might mean for you. Keep following along on our blog to stay up-to-date with what is going on in China and here at home as the situation continues to develop. Feel free to reach out to us at any time with any questions you may have.