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Where plastic trash goes now that China is not accepting plastic anymore? 中国不再接受的塑料垃圾去哪了?


At the start of 2018, China has imposed a ban on importing 24 types of materials, including recycled plastic. The country now refuses to buy any recycled plastic scrap that is not 99.5% pure. A standard too high to reach.

2018年初,中国禁止进口24种材料,包括可回收塑料。中国现在拒绝购买任何非99.5%纯度的回收塑料废料。一个无法达到的高标准。

In the 1990s, along with its growth as a manufacturer country, China started importing recycled plastic for processing it in goods. For 25 years, USA, Europe, and Japan have exported about 106 million metric tons of plastic, which, in most cases, was of poor quality and impossible to recycle. This simply added to China’s mounting environmental problems.

上世纪90年代,随着中国作为制造国的发展,中国开始进口可回收塑料,用于加工商品。25年来,美国、欧洲和日本出口了大约1.06亿吨塑料,这些塑料在大多数情况下质量低劣,无法回收。这直接加剧了中国日益严重的环境问题。


Source: Reuters (图片来源:路透社)

However, after years of economic growth, 1.4 billion Chinese population is producing enough waste to supply internal recycling plant, and China decided to shut down its door to deal internally with its growing waste problem.

然而,经过多年的经济增长,14亿中国人口产生的垃圾足以供应国内的回收工厂,中国决定关闭自己的大门,内部处理日益严重的垃圾问题。

Where all this plastic is going then?

那么这些塑料垃圾要去哪里呢?

China ban has shocked the entire world. For years USA and Europe have completely relied on China. It was cheaper to send all the waste out of their countries rather than process it at home. And now that China ports are closed, both lack of infrastructures to process all that scrap.

中国的禁令震惊了全世界。多年来,美国和欧洲完全依赖中国。把所有的垃圾运出他们的国家比在国内处理更便宜。现在中国的港口都关闭了,美国和欧洲都缺乏处理这些废料的基础设施。

Trash traders have started looking to other destinations for their orphaned waste, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. According to the analysis of Financial Times, in the first half of 2018, imports of plastic has increased by 56% in Indonesia, doubled in Vietnam, and quadrupled in Malaysia.

垃圾处理商已经开始寻找其他垃圾处理的目的地,比如越南、印度尼西亚和马来西亚。据英国《金融时报》分析,2018年上半年,印尼塑料进口增长56%,越南增长一倍,马来西亚增长四倍。


Source: Financial times 图片来源: 英国《金融时报》

According to September 2018 World Bank report, only 10 percent of the imported waste is regularly recycled in these South-Asia countries. The great majority is piled up in unauthorized dumps or illegally burned resulting in serious environmental and health problems.

根据2018年9月世界银行的报告,在这些南亚国家,只有10%的进口垃圾被定期回收。绝大多数被堆放在未经批准的垃圾场或非法焚烧,造成严重的环境和健康问题。

Recently, South-Asia countries are imposing restrictive measures to clump down on waste import. This trash flow is completely out of their capacity and has created an unsustainable parallel scrap smuggling market that is killing people, plants, and animals. Vietnam stopped issuing plastic recycling import license in June 2018. Malaysia revoked the approved permits for plastic waste imports for three months effective on 23 July 2018 as a preventive measure. Both countries denounce a series of violations from the importers: fake import permits, mislabelling, and extremely low-quality standard of the imported waste.

最近,南亚国家正在采取限制措施,限制垃圾进口。这种垃圾流动完全超出了他们的能力,并创造了一个不可持续的平行废料走私市场,威胁着人类,植物和动物的生命安全。2018年6月,越南停止发放塑料回收进口许可证。作为一项预防措施,马来西亚从2018年7月23日起,将已批准的塑料废物进口许可证吊销三个月。两国都谴责了进口商的一系列违规行为:伪造进口许可证,错贴标签,进口垃圾的质量标准极低。

Still, Asian countries plastic waste import only accounts for half a million — one-third less of what Europe once shipped to China. That is why some countries are turning to a cheaper option: landfilling.

尽管如此,亚洲国家进口的塑料垃圾仅占50万——比欧洲曾经运往中国的塑料垃圾少三分之一。这就是为什么一些国家正在转向一个更便宜的选择:填埋。

A wake-up call?

警钟敲响?

China’s action is forcing the world to come up with new ideas and measures about waste-disposal.

中国的行动正迫使世界对垃圾处理提出新的想法和措施。

As exporting to other countries is costly and landfilling is also financially and environmentally unsustainable, Europe is rethinking about the whole and sorting out new measures to deal with the entire precarious situation. The Plastics Strategy announced in January 2018 by the European Commission, aims to make all the plastic packaging recyclable by 2030 and to restrict and control the usage of single-use plastic. This strategy would spur necessary investments in domestic recycling facilities as well as call for innovation in plastic manufacturing to make all the products suitable to repurpose.

由于向其他国家出口是昂贵的,而且填埋在财政和环境上也是不可持续的,欧洲正在重新考虑整个问题,并制订新的措施来处理整个不稳定的局势。欧盟委员会2018年1月宣布的塑料战略,旨在到2030年使所有塑料包装可回收,并限制和控制一次性塑料的使用。这一战略将刺激对国内回收设施的必要投资,并呼吁在塑料制造方面进行创新,使所有产品都适合再利用。


Besides the financial and environmental impact, China break-up is creating a huge cultural impact. For years we have been told that recycling was the right way. Nobody was feeling guilty to throw everything we did not need anymore away as long as it could be thrown in the correct recycling bin. But with waste piles up more and more, citizens need to be reeducated and need all of us to help sustaining a new circular economy that takes into consideration the final life of everything we buy or produce.

除了金融和环境方面的影响,中国对塑料垃圾的拒绝还产生了巨大的文化影响。多年来,我们一直被告知回收是正确的方法。只要我们能把不再需要的东西扔进正确的回收箱,就没有人会因为把它们扔掉而感到内疚。但随着垃圾堆积越来越多,公民需要接受再教育,需要我们所有人帮助维持一个新的循环经济,考虑到我们购买或生产的所有东西的最终生命。


Source(图片来源): Pinterest


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