China starts new recycling drive as foreign trash ban widens

January 16, 2019 09:34
China is stepping up efforts to tackle bulk solid waste and industrial waste. Photo: Reuters

China plans to launch 100 new large-scale recycling "bases" by the end of next year, part of a campaign to make better use of its resources after extending a ban on foreign trash imports, Reuters reports.

“Large volumes of solid waste are already impacting and restricting the high-quality development of the industrial economy,” the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was quoted as saying in a newly-released policy document.

According to a plan, 50 new “comprehensive utilization” bases would deal with bulk solid waste while another 50 would tackle industrial waste from sectors such as metals production, coal mining, construction, agriculture and forestry.

The bases will tackle waste with the biggest public impact, the ministry said, citing shared bicycles, packaging, batteries and solar panels as examples.

They will also promote advanced technologies, products and recycling methods.

Projects or companies approved to set up shop in one of these new bases can apply for special government funding.

Authorities will make use of new financing mechanisms, including green bonds.

China’s recyclers have profited from waste shipped in from Europe and the United States, as it is better sorted and therefore cheaper to treat than domestic material.

Imports reached 60 million tons a year at their peak, but the government has been steadily blocking shipments since 2017.

The initial 2017 ban on 24 types of imported waste, including plastic and paper, was extended at the end of 2018 to 16 new products, including scrap ships and automobile parts.

Authorities said in December that they would also ban imports of more varieties of scrap steel, copper and aluminum from July, and that another 16 products - including scrap stainless steel and titanium - will be blocked at the end of the year.

Total solid waste imports fell 48 percent on the year in 2018.

The government eventually aims to block all imports that have readily available domestic replacements, according to the report.

-- Contact us at [email protected]