Shipments Of Plastic Waste To China Fall Sharply

Shipments of plastic waste to China fall sharply

The world's two top exporters of plastic waste, the United States and Japan, are struggling with the problem of its disposal after China stopped accepting the material.

A US recycling industry group says the United States has been the top exporter of plastic waste over the past decade, and 30 to 40 percent of this type of garbage was shipped to China.

But in January last year, Beijing imposed a ban on importing plastic waste, citing the problem of environmental pollution.

Shipments of scrap plastic from the US stood at 1.07 million tons last year, down 36 percent on the year. Exports of the material to China dropped by nearly 90 percent, accounting for just 5 percent of the total.

The situation is similar in Japan. The Japan External Trade Organization says the country shipped 1.4 million tons of plastic waste in 2017 and a little over half of this went to China.

But the amount fell to one million tons last year and only 5 percent was shipped to China.

This means more scrap plastic is being sent to Southeast Asia. But Thailand and Malaysia are also restricting imports of such waste.

Many local authorities in the US and Japan are saddled with huge amounts of plastic garbage.

The situation is likely to become worse as a new international rule was adopted on Friday to more tightly regulate shipments of plastic waste that is difficult to recycle.