The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment has announced that China will ban imports of 32 types of solid waste by the end of 2019, including waste plastics from industrial sources.
Further specialised material restrictions had been expected.
The restrictions will come in two waves. Firstly by 31 December 2018, solid waste from waste hardware, waste ships, pressed parts from waste autos and waste plastics from industrial sources are among those that will be restricted.
On the same date a year later, 16 further types of material will be banned from being imported, including stainless steel scraps and wood waste.
It is believed the restrictions will impact industries exporting, for example, cable-based products to China, as well as motor products, with markets outside of China expected to take some of the prohibited material.
In a statement responding to the announcement, the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) explained that the announcement would impact on more than 676,000 metric tons, worth about $278 million, in U.S. scrap commodity exports to China in the first year. ISRI also said a further 85,000 metric tons worth more than $117 million in the second year would be impacted.
ISRI president Robin Wiener said he is concerned, despite anticipating more import restrictions.
Mr Wiener said: “Although we anticipated more import restrictions would be announced, we remain concerned about the effect these policies have on the global supply chain of environmentally-friendly, energy-saving scrap commodities and will instead promote increased use of virgin materials in China, offsetting the government’s intent to protect the environment.”
The policy follows earlier announcements to prohibit 24 categories of recyclable materials beginning on January 1, 2018, and the imposition of tighter quality standards on all scrap imports starting on March 1, 2018.