As of 31 December 2018, imports of another 32 solid waste types will be banned, according to a document recently published jointly by the Chinese Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Commerce, the Commission for Development and Reform and the Chinese main customs office. The list includes metal scrap, titanium waste, wood waste, slag and used ships.
China has been importing solid waste from abroad since the 1980s in order to extract raw materials from it. Although waste handling in China was not yet well developed, the country was for years the world’s largest importer of solid waste. In recent years, some companies have illegally imported foreign waste into China for profit reasons, posing a great danger to the environment and to the health of the people.
In 2017, China decided to change this situation. On July 18, 2017, the People’s Republic officially announced its import ban on foreign garbage. With the restrictions in effect from the end of 2017, the import of solid waste has already declined significantly this year. By the end of 2019, such imports should largely be stopped – unless they contain raw materials that can not be replaced otherwise.