April 20 (UPI) — A Chinese government decision to ban more recycling waste from entering China has sent other countries scrambling for a solution.
While China’s ban against waste imports began in 2017 with a prohibition on unsorted paper and some plastics, China is taking further steps to include steel waste, used auto parts and old ships, CNN Money reported Friday.
A total of more than 50 types of recyclable waste are no longer being accepted at Chinese ports of entry, a policy that is hitting recyclers hard in countries like Australia and South Korea.
A city in Australia is being pushed to bury recyclable material in landfills because of the Chinese ban, according to Bloomberg.
Andrew Antoniolli, the mayor of Ipswich, said the “National recycling system broke sooner than we expected” and the recyclables will enter landfills as long as no contractor will offer to take the waste in the wake of the ban.
China has been cracking down on recyclable imports because of a pollution crisis.
But the “poorly considered” move will only cause new environmental problems as Chinese industry buys new paper pulp and plastic resins, according to analyst Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion Dollar Trash Trade.
In South Korea, the government is taking measures that could mitigate the repercussions of the Chinese ban, announced this year, against 32 kinds of recycling items that include waste cork, tungsten and magnesium, South Korean television network MBC reported Friday.
The ban will go into effect on Dec. 31, and South Korea will need to resolve the issue of disposing of waste electronic products, compact discs and plastic bottles, according to the report.
China imports about 50 percent of the world’s plastic waste.