China imposes new ban on foreign waste

China has announced plans to curb its import of foreign waste for recycling purposes.

At present, China is the largest importer of plastics, mixed paper and textiles. A large percentage of the recyclable material we accumulate in the UK is packed into shipping containers and sent to China. The country stated that by the end of 2017, it plans to ban 24 categories of foreign waste, and instead, utilise its own domestic recyclables rather than bringing in ‘yang laji’ or foreign garbage.

The alternatives for many recyclables are bleak – they can either be incinerated or sent to landfill. Taking this into consideration, it is clear that we need to increase our domestic recycling processes rather than relying so heavily on China as an importer.

It could well be time to change our relationship with plastic. Indeed, this is what former ASDA boss Andy Clarke has called for, as he refers to the typical supermarket aisle as ‘a wall of technicolour plastic’ and puts forward his idea for a plastic-free aisle. Moreover, we know that the general public are more supportive than ever of such prospects; a poll cited by Mr Clarke revealed that 91% of consumers were concerned over the fate of plastics, and were keen for plastic-free aisles.

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