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BIR: China wants to abolish "solid waste" imports by 2020

26 Jun 2018 − 

Reports from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, published on 24 June 2018 by the news agency Xinhua, highlight China's plans to reduce its imports of solid waste to zero by the end of 2020, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) reports.

China currently defines "solid wastes" in the National Standards of the People's Republic of China "Identification standards for solid wastes – General rules", whilst the quality thresholds for imported solid wastes as raw materials are set out in the National Standards of the People's Republic of China Series GB 16487, BIR adds.

"As governments create their circular economies by substituting primary raw materials with recycled raw materials, questions will inevitably arise about exactly when wastes cease to be wastes and become those recycled raw materials. Furthermore, countries that are not self-sufficient in recycled raw materials will need to import them for their manufacturing needs. BIR predicts further changes to Chinese standards and laws in order to affect its recycled raw material needs," the BIR commented.

According to the Xinhua news report, which was only available in Chinese at the time of going to press, the Central Committee plans to strengthen environmental protection and take action against all types of pollution, with waste management only one area among many. Apart from the stated aim of abolishing imports of solid waste by the end of 2020, the waste-related measures contained in the Xinhua report relate mainly to waste generated within China.

The objectives include an end to the informal dumping of waste, expanding the treatment and recycling of waste as well as its use to generate energy, and strengthening the control of hazardous wastes and chemicals.

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