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China Ceases Importation of Plastic Waste

China has previously handled about half of the world’s plastic recyclables

January 8, 2018

Countries across the globe are scrambling to dispose of their plastic waste after China began the new year with a policy to no longer accept the rest of the world’s recyclables, Earth.com reports.

China imported 7.3 million tons of plastic waste from other countries in 2016, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. In 2012, it took in 56 percent of the world’s plastic recyclables. Last year China announced its decision to stop importing 24 types of waste, including plastic, because the country had become polluted from taking in the garbage.

Environmentalists are calling on countries that have exported their plastic waste to China to handle their own recycling and to reduce the amount of waste they create. Some countries, such as Britain, have begun exporting their waste to Malaysia and Vietnam, which do not have the same capacity of China’s former waste disposal.

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