Britons are carefully separating their paper, tins and plastics and putting them in their correct bins, but I bet you don’t realise just how little the UK recycles when it comes to plastics and paper waste.
A good proportion of the UK’s and world’s recycling is exported to China but in February 2017 China announced a year-long crackdown on the illegal smuggling of foreign waste and its continuing policy of not accepting legal shipments if they are too contaminated. In one incident China sent 160 containers of contaminated paper recycling back to Ireland!
In one recent incident, China sent 160 containers of contaminated paper recycling back to Ireland!
China’s General Administration of Customs announced that the campaign is aimed at cutting the illegal smuggling of ‘foreign waste’ and other products including agricultural products, resource products, tax-related goods, drugs and guns.
According to China’s Xinhua news agency, the department also said that it would target ‘industrial waste, electronic scrap and plastics’, as well as ‘gangs and well-organised operations acting illegally’.
Steve Wong, Executive Vice-President of the China Scrap Plastics Association, said in a statement: “According to market intelligence, the focus of plastic waste items for crackdown this time include e-waste, household waste, agricultural films and tubes, bottles, etc.”.
The legal import of recyclable material that was overly contaminated has already been the subject of Chinese government intervention. In 2013, it brought in a programme known as Operation Green Fence, which was billed as an aggressive inspection effort to lower the amount of contaminated recyclables and waste being sent to China.
Unlike that campaign, this one is aimed at addressing deliberate smuggling attempts.
At Slick Recycling we anticipated that China may well become more restrictive to paper and plastics and we have set up alternative recycling destinations within the UK and Europe and we are able to continue to offer our customers the same level of rebate, where appropriate, and have increased our recycling output with our new partners.
For more information please read this article at Recycling Today