China Import Ban, Less Cash in Exported Trash

For over two decades, many developed countries have sent massive amounts of plastic wastes to China for recycling.

But that option is drying up following a Chinese ban on rubbish imports this year, forcing countries, particularly developed nations, to seriously rethink how to process their unwanted materials - a question that have been dodged for many years.

This (ban) will accelerate the collapse of a business model that is efficient in terms of money but not effective in terms of pollution

Antonis Mavropoulos, President of International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), describes the ban as the ‘end of recycling as we know it’.  He welcomes the move very much as it forces the industry to move into more advanced and quality recycling.

“It is the end of cheap and low quality recycling,” says Mavropoulos during an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently. “This (ban) will accelerate the collapse of a business model that is efficient in terms of money but not effective in terms of pollution.”

“For me, China’s ban is welcomed as it makes the countries around the world adjust their recycling programs and to think about circular economy in a more serious way, and not just a political mantra,” says Mavropoulos, who has experience in solid waste management projects in more than 20 countries over the last two decades.