China announces import ban on plastic waste
China has announced a ban on importing “foreign garbage”, citing concerns over large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes that come with the plastic scrap.
The rules are still being finalised but appear to include tough quality standards for industrial plastic scrap, and a total ban on plastics from household recycling.
The ban poses major challenges for the UK’s recycling industry, which ships more scrap to China and Hong Kong than any other destination: British companies have shipped more than 2.7m tonnes of plastic scrap to mainland China and Hong Kong since 2012 – nearly two-thirds of the UK’s total waste plastic exports.
The ban threatens to tip Britain’s already stretched recycling sector into crisis, as a chronic shortage of capacity to recycle plastics in the UK collides with the near-total closure of the world’s biggest market for waste household plastics.
Councils may be forced to stop collecting some kinds of plastic for recycling, and the situation could endanger the UK’s ability to meet its recycling targets. Waste companies are pursuing new export destinations for plastics, but are also considering temporarily burying plastic waste, incineration, landfill, and even converting it into jet fuel. More at Greenpeace UK.
PS: Even more reason to BRING YOUR OWN cups/bags/bottles and so on, so you don't need recycling to begin with!