China to stop accepting world's rubbish altogether from Jan 1

The government started to close China's doors to foreign waste in January 2018.
The government started to close China's doors to foreign waste in January 2018.PHOTO: UNSPLASH

BEIJING • Come Jan 1, China will ban all waste imports, state media has reported, marking the culmination of a three-year phase-out of accepting overseas junk.

Since the 1980s, the country has imported rubbish and other waste products, which local companies would clean, crush and transform into raw materials for industrialists.

For years it has been the world's largest importer of rubbish, often leading to pollution when the materials cannot be recycled or disposed of properly.

Hoping to no longer be the world's rubbish bin, the Chinese government started to close the country's doors to foreign waste in January 2018, causing backlogs of garbage in the exporting countries.

Since then, it has gradually banned imports of different types of plastics, car parts, paper, textiles as well as scrap steel and wood.

And from January next year, the ban will cover all kinds of waste, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

Xinhua, citing a notice from the ministries of ecology and environment, as well as commerce, and the General Administration of Customs, said the dumping, stacking and disposal of waste products from overseas would also be banned from next year.

The agency said China's solid waste imports stood at 13.48 million tonnes last year - down from 22.63 million tonnes in 2018 - and that the figure for the first 10 months of this year was down 42.7 per cent year on year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

  • 13.48m

    China's imports, in tonnes, of solid waste last year.

    22.63m 

    The tonnes of solid waste imports in 2018.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 29, 2020, with the headline 'China to stop accepting world's rubbish altogether from Jan 1'. Subscribe