China to eliminate solid waste imports

China has announced plans to completely eliminate solid waste imports by 2020, according to a recent Reuters report.

Starting in July, China will no longer accept imports of scrap steel, copper or aluminium, with the veto extended to scrap stainless steel and titanium by the end of 2019.

Director of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment’s solid waste division Qiu Qiwen reportedly said at a briefing that the ban aims to block the import of waste products that can be sourced domestically.

According to Reuters, since the 1980’s China has taken in hundreds of millions of tonnes of foreign paper, plastic, electronic waste and scrap metal for recycling.

Beijing began restricting deliveries last year, with customs authorities launching a series of crackdowns on waste smuggling, leading to hundreds of arrests.

Earlier this year India similarly announced a ban on solid plastic imports, after the country saw a drastic increase in waste imports as a result of the market vacuum generated by China’s National Sword policy.

China faces a solid waste treatment backlog of an estimated 60-70 billion tonnes, placing the country under significant pressure to boost its domestic recycling capacity.

Mr Qiwen said China imported 22.6 million tonnes of solid waste last year— down 47 per cent from the previous year.

“If solid waste meets the requirements of China’s import standards and doesn’t contain any hazards, then it can be treated as common commodities, not waste,” Mr Qiwen said.

The announcement follows the January launch of the “waste-free cities” scheme, which aims to boost recycling and encourage the development of alternatives to landfill.

Under the scheme 10 cities will be selected for the first phase, with measures to include better sorting of solid waste, improvements in urban planning and the construction of new treatment facilities.

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Solid waste market to exceed $340B by 2024

The global solid waste management market is expected to exceed USD 340 billion (AUD452.8) by 2024, according to a new research report from market research firm Global Market Insights Inc.

According to the report, the solid waste management industry has been growing significantly in terms of remuneration, due in part to increasingly stringent regulatory norms and guidelines.

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The European market is also set to grow exponentially as countries like the UK and Germany adopt new recycling technologies and introduce comprehensive directives to lower air pollution and land usage, according to the report.

It estimates the UK solid waste management industry size will surpass a total processing capacity of over 35 million tonnes by 2024.

The region also has been characterised by the interest in waste to energy (WtE) facilities being set up, the report said. Hitachi Zosen Inova AG has also announded recently to build Turkey’s first WtE plant – planned to be the largest WtE project in Europe with the capacity to process 15 per cent of Istanbul’s solid waste per year.

The report also says that companies like Biffa Group, Hitachi, Veolia, Amec Foster Wheeler, E.L. Harvey & Sons, and Stericycle have been focusing on acquiring upcoming companies to fortify their presence in the industry.

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