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China Waste

In 2017 and 2018, the Chinese government implemented a series of waste import restrictions limiting or banning a variety of recyclable material that had previously been accepted for processing. The restriction of the flow of materials has created new challenges throughout the supply chain of scrap—residents, solid waste departments, material recovery facilities (MRFs), processors, end users and beyond. This webpage provides an overview of these challenges and provides updates on SWANA’s efforts to help support North American recycling through this transition.

NPR’s On Point — Global Recycling Is A Dumpster Fire. Literally

Listen to SWANA CEO & Executive Director David Biderman’s interview with Megan Chakrabarti on NPR’S On Point on March 14, 2019.

SWANA Resources: China Waste Import Restrictions Infographics

Download printable infographics in exchange for contact information.

Timeline

China-Timeline-Infographic

A timeline of Chinese waste initiatives from 2013–2018.

How to Take Action

China-How_to_Take_Action-Infographic

Action items for local governments and recycling managers.

Materials Affected

China-Materials_Affect-Infographic

Most common recycling materials affected by the China waste import restrictions.

Recycling Infrastructure

RecyclingInfrastructure-Infographic

U.S. Recycling: Building America’s infrastructure through sustainability.

SWANA In the News: China Waste Import Restrictions

In the News: China Waste Import Restrictions

SWANA Resources: China Waste Import Restrictions

Letters to State and Provincial Environmental Agency Leadership

Press Releases

SWANA Submits Comments Expressing Concerns on China Waste Ban

Sep 5, 2017, 00:00 AM by MatrixGroup Admin

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2017

 Wendy Melis
Marketing Director
1-800-GO-SWANA (467-9262)

 
 

SWANA Submits Comments Expressing Concerns to World Trade Organization on China Waste Ban
Gives Background on U.S. Recycling, Addresses Scope and Timing

Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has submitted comments to the World Trade Organization in response to the July 18, 2017 notification from China on their intent to ban certain waste imports.

SWANA’s comments explain what effect the proposed ban on certain categories of recyclables could have on municipal recycling in the United States and Canada, requests further clarification on the terms of the ban, and offers technical assistance to the Chinese government on waste and recycling-related matters.

“China’s proposed import ban is a very important issue for SWANA members in the United States and Canada, and is a critical one for many of the communities they serve,” said David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director & CEO. “We need to work with the Chinese government to develop a practical timeline for the proposed ban, while improving bale quality for material exported to China and other foreign markets.”

SWANA lays out challenges the United States will likely face in adapting to the ban, discusses recycling on the state and local levels, and the lack of domestic recycling infrastructure to process material currently being exported.

“Because single stream recycling has become the prominent method of recycling in North America it is imperative that the quality of the sorted recycled materials be as high as possible to avoid loads being rejected,” said Rich Allen, President of SWANA. “Many Material Recovery Facilities are looking to upgrade their sorting systems to improve the quality of their bales along with better educating their residents on what can and more importantly cannot be recycled. The actual impacts on the Chinese Waste Ban are still being interpreted, but SWANA is keeping close tabs on the implications for our members and the industry.”

SWANA supports the concerns previously filed by the International Scrap Recycling Institute (ISRI) and Waste Management, and suggests a clearly defined five year transition period for the ban in order to allow time for customers and suppliers in the United States and the global marketplace to adapt to the policy change.

“We appreciate SWANA joining with ISRI and others to raise concerns about China’s import restrictions,” said Robin Weiner, CEO of ISRI. “We look forward to working with SWANA to support the Chinese government’s environmental protection goals.”

To view SWANA’s full comments concerning the China Waste Ban, click here.

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About SWANA:

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 9,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications, and a large offering of technical training courses. For more information, visit swana.org.

 
 
 

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