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China Waste Import Ban To Favor Recycling Enterprises
May 25, 2018

BEIJING - German recycling firms are expecting that the recently announced ban on plastic waste imports in China will result in new business opportunities for the sector, an expert said earlier this month.

"The door has been shut on plastic waste entering China, but recyclates (recyclable material) remain in high demand for the plastics-processing industry, including in China," said Thomas Probst, an expert from the Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials, in a statement.

The export of plastic waste had "no future" and an eventual complete halt to the international practice would be a good thing, Probst added.

In April, China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced that it will ban imports of 32 types of solid waste, in its latest move to reduce environmental pollution.

The country will phase out imports of solid waste that can be replaced by domestic resources before the end of 2019.

Probst called on Germany to improve its own recycling performance by creating additional sorting and recycling facilities, as well as making better use of recyclable plastic granulates for domestic industries.

"The use of plastic products from recyclates must become as natural in the future as the use of recycled paper already is," said Probst, adding that the public sector in particular had a responsibility to play a pioneering role in this context.

The urgent question of how to avoid and recycle plastic use, in order to avert environmental damage, was a prominent subject of discussion at the Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials in Munich on May 14 to 18.

The German Federal Environmental Agency has estimated that 3 million tons of plastic packaging were generated in Germany in 2015, around half of which was incinerated.

The German federal government aims to lift the recycling quota for plastic packaging from currently some 36 percent to 63 percent by 2022, with a new packaging law that will take force from 2019 onwards.