China launches crackdown on waste imports

China’s General Administration of Customs has announced a year-long campaign to cut the illegal smuggling of ‘foreign waste.’

The Chinese customs authorities intend to introduce fresh regulations to restrict waste imports into the country. The campaign, which has been named ‘National Sword 2017’, comes four years after China initiated the imports-enforcement campaign Operation Green Fence, which sent shockwaves through the recycling supply chain.

However, whilst the aim of Green Fence was to improve the quality of imported raw materials through enhanced inspection procedures, this latest campaign is said to be  aimed at addressing deliberate smuggling attempts.

The Bureau of International Recycling said in a statement: "The "foreign waste" of concern to the Chinese authorities includes the illegal activities of smuggling solid wastes such as industrial waste, electronic waste, household waste and plastic waste. The Chinese customs will further strengthen the co-operation with all localities, the relevant departments and industry associations."

In January, China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced an investment worth around £29 billion to address waste collection and treatment and develop ‘non-harmful’ ways of disposing household waste.

Chinese shipments returned to Ireland

This latest news of a crackdown comes as the National Trans-frontier Shipments Office in Ireland investigates the return of 160 containers of recyclable waste between October and December last year as a result of reported contamination. The containers were stopped in Rotterdam en route to paper mills in China. The Irish Labour Party is calling for the Irish government to take action as it says the waste industry estimated that contamination rate in Ireland is increasing and now accounts for 40 per cent of recycling bin waste.

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