China will ban all imports of solid waste from 1 January 2021, authorities have said.
According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the dumping, stacking and disposal of waste products from overseas on Chinese territory will also be banned.
The total ban is the culmination of policies introduced in 2017 to phase out the import of solid waste.
In late 2017 China banned the import of 24 types of solid waste, including unsorted paper, textiles and vanadium slag.
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 capacity in waste disposal.
“Some companies illegally brought foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health,” a government statement reads.
“With the growing public awareness of environmental issues and the success of China’s green development drive, the country’s solid waste imports have decreased significantly.”
In 2019 China imported 13.48 million tonnes of waste, down from 22.63 million tonnes in 2018.
In the first 10 months of 2020 waste imports dropped a further 42.7 per cent.