China’s Waste Ban: Boon or Bane?

“Out of sight, out of mind.”

This is the attitude most people have with regards to waste. However, the reality is, the lifespan of waste extends much further than after we toss it.

China is very well aware of this. In the past 20 years, China has taken in more than 50% of the world’s waste – mainly from the UK, US, and EU. However, more recently, China has taken introduced a ban on 24 kinds of solid waste including unsorted paper and textile materials. The dependence on China for waste disposal and recycling has left most countries without the infrastructure to deal with the waste it produces. In the UK, this means only 50-55% of waste is able to be treated.

The shocking numbers driven by China’s waste ban is driving stronger strategies in countries who had previously been able to sweep their trash under the rug. However, the real opportunity is the recognition of how much waste is produced. China’s waste ban means countries need to be proactive instead of reactive with waste. It can also inspire the implementation of similar bans in other developing countries, who are likely to become the new destination for the waste, while also encouraging innovation in waste reduction strategies and recycling technologies.

Join us for our 108th Green Drinks monthly forum, in collaboration with Green Initiatives, where we will look to understand the implication of waste ban on countries, why this may be a positive step for China and for other countries, opportunities, challenges and innovations.