China’s plastic ban creates problems in Great Britain

Half the world's plastic was being recycled in China

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China takes action against imported plastic waste.

China takes action against imported plastic waste. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China’s January 1 ban on the import of plastic waste is already creating problems for the recycling industry in Great Britain, reports said Wednesday.

For 20 years, China has been accepting plastic for recycling from overseas, with Britain alone contributing 500,000 tons or two thirds of its used plastic a year, according to The Telegraph. Half the world’s recycled plastics, or 7.3 million tons, were processed in China in 2016, with potential alternatives Vietnam and Malaysia unable to make up for the change.

Beijing has halted the practice in order to fight pollution and to encourage self sufficiency.

Even though the ban only went into effect last Monday, British businesses stopped sending plastic to China during the autumn as they feared the waste would arrive too late.

Lower grade plastic has been piling up at recyclers in Britain, The Telegraph reported, with environmentalists predicting the Chinese ban will result in stockpiling, incineration and landfill.

Local governments in the United Kingdom responsible for collecting plastic waste were likely to face chaos if no solution was found soon, reports said.