China rejects recyclables

China rejects recyclables

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

"We don't want your rubbish," is the message China increasingly has for British exporters of contaminated recyclables.

Although the British government has goaded households into increasing recycling, little of the recovered materials are processed domestically and are instead shipped to China, according to a report in The Telegraph. Seventy percent of plastics recovered for recycling in the U.K. are sent to Asia, according to the paper.

However, China increasingly has less tolerance for contaminated low-grade plastic imported from the U.K. Citing information from the U.K.'s Environment Agency, The Telegraph found that so far this year 17 containers holding 420 tons of plastic destined for Asia were turned away.

Bernard Chase, purchasing manager at Linpac Recycling, told the paper that if this trend continues, it will leave the U.K. with a "mountain of plastic."

The situation has been a source of unease in the British plastics recycling industry. In September, the Packaging and Films Association, an industry group, bristled in response to a new government mandate aimed at increasing recycling in the U.K. The association argued that if China continues to turn back British recyclables, the U.K. would be stuck with a backlog of recovered plastics due to the lack of recycling infrastructure in the country.

Scotland is considering measures aimed at improving the material coming in and out of material recovery facilities.

There have also been reports of China cracking down on contaminated paper bales.

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