China's solid waste imports continue to slump on tightened ban

(Xinhua )| Updated : 2018-11-11

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Customs officers check smuggled waste cotton in Qingdao, Shandong province, on June 11, 2018. [Photo by Zhang Jingang/For China Daily]

BEIJING - China's imports of solid waste slumped further in the first 10 months of 2018 as the government stepped up enforcement on a ban on solid waste imports.

Imports of plastic, paper and metal waste totaled 17.27 million metric tons in the January-October period, down 51.5 percent from the same period last year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

In October alone, solid waste imports were 1.64 million tons.

The country began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world's largest importer, despite its weak capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally bring foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.

Given rising public awareness and China's green development drive, the government last year decided to phase out and halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.

The government banned imports of 24 types of solid waste, including plastics and paper, and has imposed tough quality restrictions on other recyclable materials.