Beijing, Dec 1– China is expected to realize zero import of solid waste by the end of 2020, after which the country will implement strict measures to consolidate the policy of banning the imports.

China imported 7.18 million tons of solid waste by November 15, a 41 percent year-on-year drop, Qiu Qiwen, chief at the Department of Solid Wastes and Chemicals under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), said at the monthly press conference on Monday.

China will ban all imports of solid waste from 2021 in all forms, Qiu reaffirmed.

China started reform on gradually banning solid waste imports in 2017. According to Qiu, from 2016 to 2019, the imports of solid waste dropped from 46.55 million tons to 13.48 million tons. 

The next step will be the MEE continuing to consolidate its work on completing related laws and regulations, cooperating with the customs to crack down smuggles of solid waste and enforcing supervisions on recycling industries.

China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world’s largest importer, despite its limited garbage disposal capacity. Some companies illegally brought foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

At the meeting, Qiu also noted that all the medial waste created during the COVID-19 epidemic in China has been properly processed so far, and most cities are capable of collecting, transferring and processing the medical waste by themselves.


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