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Jaaja Post time: 2017-12-30 19:23
If you have the choice between paying to take care of your own waste, or getting paid by having ...
Imports of foreign waste has very little to do with environmental standards. It’s all about economics. Rich countries dump their waste on poor countries because the latter is paid to accept those waste. Because China is no longer a poor country, it can afford not to accept foreign waste which will be dumped on poor countries in Africa which will become the biggest dumping ground for Western waste in the future.
The western countries named in this thread and otherwise, typically have much tighter environmental regulations than China, which makes it less profitable (if at all) to use their own recycled waste. So they would have to pay to take care of it themselves. While in China, it becomes valuable asset worth shipping.
But even if in your typical western country it wouldn't be profitable to take care of the recycled waste, important detail here is that they do still recycle it. That's more than can be said about level of recycling in China - especially if you go to smaller cities.
I think the only way forward in this global picture is, that China improves its environmental regulations so that it becomes less pofitable for local businesses to import foreign waste, and start to handle China's own waste better as well.
If in past it has been profitable to import foreign waste, then certaintly that has contributed to the GDP as well. This is only one aspect where China should value slower but more sustainable growth.
China does have a HUGE recycling sector for all kinds of waste — plastics, paper, metals, construction materials, rubber tires — which gets recycled into useful products. As China became richer, consumption has risen to the point that it’s generating its own waste plastics, paper and clothing which is enough to feed its own recycling industries.