Skip to main content

Garbage Imports To Taiwan, Southeast Asia Soar After China Bans Foreign Waste

On July 27, 2017, China’s State Council announced that “foreign garbage”, including "plastic waste from living sources, paper, textile waste, and vanadium slag," would be banned from entering the country.  On July 18 Beijing had already notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that by the end of the year it would no longer accept shipments of those types of waste.

According to state-run Xinhua News Agency, China began to import solid waste as raw materials in the 1980s to meet its domestic demand for resources. However, some companies allegedly engaged in smuggling foreign garbage into the country for profit, "damaging the environment and public health."

The Chinese authorities believe that imported solid waste poses "a serious threat to the environment" and has caused "widespread public concern." By the end of 2019 China will gradually phase out the import of "solid waste for which substitute resources are available in China," Xinhua said.
Embed from Getty Images

For more than 20 years, China has been the world’s "dumping ground for solid waste." In 2016 alone about half of the world’s exports of waste plastic, paper and metals went to China. That year the country imported from the United States 16 million tons of waste worth $5.2 billion dollars. Among the countries that relied on China for their waste disposal were the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.


The UK exported almost two-thirds of its waste to mainland China and Hong Kong. Between 2012 and 2017 UK businesses shipped there more than 2.7 million tons of plastic waste. In 2016 Germany sent to China 560.000 tons of plastic waste, one-third of Europe's 1.6 million tons of waste exports to the country.

In March of this year the United States raised concerns over China's ban on foreign waste at the WTO’s Council for Trade in Goods. “China’s import restrictions on recycled commodities have caused a fundamental disruption in global supply chains for scrap materials, directing them away from productive reuse and towards disposal,” a US representative told the Council.

After China announced its ban on foreign trash, waste exporters began to look for alternatives. The United Kingdom eyed Taiwan and Southeast Asia as new markets for its plastic waste. In the four months since the ban came into effect, UK exports of plastic waste to Malaysia more than trebled, while those to Vietnam and to Thailand doubled. Taiwan's imports of plastic waste from the UK increased by more than 1,200%. Other countries that experienced a surge in waste imports from the UK are Poland (+31%), Turkey (+166%), Pakistan (+78%), India (+37%) and Indonesia (+19%). 

According to Amy Brooks, a doctoral student in engineering at the University of Georgia, countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia are already considering policies to limit the import of foreign waste

The government of Thailand has begun a crackdown on illegal waste imports and has vowed to send back shipments of plastic garbage. After a series of fires at waste dumps, the Polish government introduced new rules to restrict the import of waste into the country.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Will The Huawei Case Finally Awaken Democrats To The China Threat And The Danger Of Faux Free Trade Rhetoric?

Huawei Shenzhen office building (by Raysonho  via Wikimedia Commons) On January 28 the Department of Justice of the United States unsealed two cases against Huawei , China's largest telecommunications company, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.  Huawei has been accused of trying to steal trade secrets, committing bank fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran. One indictment claims that Huawei attempted to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile by promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information. Huawei is not a company like any other. Over the years it has benefited enormously from the support of the Chinese Communist regime. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, joined China's army during the Cultural Revolution . In 1978 he also joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  In the early years Huawei's sources of capital were high-interest loans (20%-30%) from Chinese state-owned enterp

Washington Post correspondent in China Gerry Shih assaulted for walking with Caucasian European

Gerry Shih, a China-based correspondent for the Washington Post, was assaulted on a Beijing street for "walking with a Caucasian European," according to a Tweet he posted on November 29. The assailants allegedly shouted at them: "F*** your American embassy!" Sign of the times: roughed up in Beijing street tonight for walking with Caucasian European. Neither of us said we were American but their parting shot was “操你美国使馆” pic.twitter.com/ekPLNsLBnj — Gerry Shih (@gerryshih) November 29, 2019 In recent years the Chinese Communist regime has intensified its anti-foreign rhetoric as Xi Jinping has sought to consolidate the power of the Party and rid China of perceived "foreign influence". Foreigners in China have been targeted by the government and anti-foreign sentiment has been enouraged. This year arrests and deportations of foreign teachers in China have increased amid a government campaign to promote "patriotic education." An inc

China releases anti-Uighur propaganda film "Black Hand"

Mosque in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, as photographed in 2008 (photo by jun jin luo via Wikimedia Commons) The People's Republic of China (PRC) has released a propaganda video titled "The black hand — ETIM and terrorism in Xinjiang", in an attempt to shape the narrative surrounding its crackdown on the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority. The propaganda film links the Uighur population to Islamic terrorism, thus trying to justify the indiscriminate persecution of the entire Muslim population. "For decades, the [East Turkistan Islamic Movement] which has close links with international terrorist organizations perpetrated countless terrorist attacks aiming to separate the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from China," writes China's state-run television network CGTN. The East Turkistan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, was reportedly founded by Hasan Mahsum, an Uighur from Xinjiang's Kashgar region. He was shot dead by Pakistani troops in 2003. In 2002 the Unite