BEIJING — China is importing more waste plastic in 2014 than in 2013, reported Ministry of Environmental Protection representative Li Shu'ai, at the Sino-EU Cooperation Seminar of the Plastics Recycling Industry, held Nov. 10 in Beijing.
In the first three quarters of 2014, China imported 39.23 million tons of waste products (including plastics), a value of $230 billion, a decrease of 4.29 percent from the previous year, she said. During the same period, China imported 6.63 million tons of waste plastics, with a total value of $4.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 19 percent.
Li estimated that this year's total import volume will surpass last year's. The top import sources were Hong Kong with 22 percent and then Japan, the United States and Germany.
According to Li, last year's Green Fence policy has had an impact on the industry. This year there are 1,167 waste plastics importers in China, a decrease of 100 companies from last year.
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology representative Li Hongliang added that mostly small companies that had been having a big negative impact on the environment have been shut down or upgraded by the government.
Li said the ministry had hoped to have a deregulation so that provinces could make their own rules about import of waste products. But that effort will be delayed, as State Council and China's President Xi Jinping had reiterated that they must regulate according to the law. “We will know in the future about a revision,” she said.
Afterwards, speaking with Plastics News China, she said that the Green Fence policy was considered a success and the government will now focus on other industries.