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

Taipei Walking Tours - A Guide To Taipei In 6 Days

Taiwan is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Asia. With about 10.74 million tourists in 2017, it lags behind Asian neighbours like Thailand (35 million), Hong Kong (58 million), Japan (28.7 million), or Indonesia (14 million).
Nevertheless, Taiwan is a great place to visit due to its amazing food, fascinating history, traditional Chinese culture, friendly atmosphere, safety, and natural attractions. Moreover, Taiwan has a very convenient visa policy. Citizens of many countries, including the United States and most European Union members, can travel to Taiwan without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. You can literally buy a plane ticket and go to Taiwan without doing any paperwork.    
If you travel to Taiwan, your first destination will probably be the capital and largest city: Taipei.




Taipei is the political and economic centre of the island, with lots of attractions ranging from modern skyscrapers and shopping centres to night markets, colonial Japanese architect…

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

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 enterprises. Ren also secured soft loans from the local government of Shenzhen thanks to his personal co…

Chinese Dissident Zhang Jilin Detained By Police In Chongqing After Calling On Xi Jinping To Resign

Chinese dissident Zhang Jilin (张吉林) has been detained by police in the city of Chongqing after publicly saying that President Xi Jinping should be removed from office.
According to Taiwan-based Apple Daily, on January 17 Zhang talked about China's current affairs on a WeChat group. His ideas received praise from the group members, and he later told friends that he wanted to give a public speech based on the thoughts he had expressed online.
Other dissidents urged him to be careful, but he insisted that he had "the right to free speech." On January 19 Zhang went to Guanyinqiao Square, in the city of Chongqing, and delivered a speech about China's political situation, calling on Xi Jinping to be removed from office.
"I think it's time for Xi Jinping to be removed from office," Zhang told a crowd according to an audio recording. "The Chinese Communist Party will not do anything to the people. If you don't believe me, look, I have been giving a speech…