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Trash Woes: Unpacking China's Waste Plastics Ban—Implications for Business

For many years, China was the main final recipient of the global flow of plastics waste—millions of tons were shipped to China every year. In 2017, with the implementation of severe import restrictions, China effectively shut its doors on foreign waste plastics. The result? Seemingly overnight, China’s share in global waste plastics imports plummeted, leaving much of the developed world sitting on mountains of plastics trash. Two years on: How are global plastics waste streams changing? How is the ban affecting the economics of plastic collection and recycling? What were the real reasons behind the ban, and what is happening now within China? Our latest China Center research report provides answers to these questions and assesses short- and long-term implications for business.






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