Market update – Official announcement on solid waste import controls

China Recycling Market Update – Official Announcement on Solid Waste Import Controls

 The Office of the State Council officially released the announcement on 27 July 2017 on “Prohibition of foreign waste import in promotion of solid waste imports administration system reform and implementation plan”.

Without mentioning about a complete ban by the end of 2018 for solid waste imports, the paper outlined the following key points:

1)          Implementation of the Plan for a progressive stop of imports on solid waste items which can be replaced by the domestic supply before end of 2019.

2)      Raise the recovery and reuse of domestic solid waste, promote circular economy, protect environmental safety and healthiness of the general public.

3)      Import of plastic waste from living sources as well as unsorted mixed paper, textiles and some trace metals or waste items that highly endanger the environment and are highly negatively viewed by the general public are forbidden by end of 2017.

4)      Speed up and strengthen waste stream management with the objective to raising the recovery rate of domestic solid waste targeting for increases in recovery from 246 million tons of 2015 to 350 million tons by year 2020. Measures such as EPR to bolster increases.

5)      Uphold monitoring controls on each area of importation, transportation and use of waste materials as a means to ensure legitimate use of import permits. Approval of import permits application by reducing approach.

6)      Local government departments to assume primary responsibility of plan implementation and re-employment on job loss due to industry restructuring.

The official paper detailed each aspect of plan implementation with departments responsible and timelines. It demonstrated the government’s determination to achieve the goal of complete stop in solid waste imports eventually and to raise the recovery and reuse of domestic solid waste.

On the other hand, it allows a bit of leeway and breathing time for the recycling industry to adjust rather than rushing a complete ban by end of 2017. Nevertheless, there are still lots of details which the industry is looking for to help drive their business in the ensuing months in which interpretation of the waste items allowed or disallowed for import and by when is very important. Hope that it can come to light soon.

By Dr. Steve Wong
Executive President, CSPA
Chairman, Fukutomi Company Limited
Committee Member, Plastics Committee of BIR
Committee Member, WEEE Committee of BIR

28 July 2017

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