According to reports by Reuters, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has revealed what materials it intends to be listed in the ban. The banned waste reportedly excludes some scrap metals, including steel, copper, nickel, aluminium, zinc and tin.
Steel, copper and aluminium scrap from automobiles, ships and electronic devices have been listed under the “limited import” category. What “limited” means is yet to be clarified.
Mining waste containing non-ferrous metals will be categorically banned from imports, since “China has sufficient domestic resources”, the MEP said. Other items that will be completely prohibited include tyres, textiles, plastic, glass and “old medicines”, Reuters reports.
“The current recycle system in China is insufficient to meet the demand from waste processing industry”
From August, the MEP will carry out inspections targeting the recycling of old electronic devices, tyres, plastic, cloth and home appliances, including collecting stations and processing factories, the ministry said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
The MEP said the import ban will take effect as early as the end of 2017.
“The current recycle system in China is insufficient to meet the demand from waste processing industry,” said Qiu Qiwen, director at the Soil Environment Management Department of the MEP.
“The inspections will help to eliminate excess capacity and improve the infrastructure of the recycling industry.”
The Chinese Government announced in July that it intends to ban the import of all scrap plastics and unsorted paper by the end of the year.
In response, Four Government Ministers have received a joint letter from The Recycling Association and Confederation of Paper Industries requesting “high level diplomacy” regarding the Chinese ban.
Last year, the country imported 2.16m tonnes of scrap steel and 5.28m tonnes of scrap copper, aluminium and zinc.