- Thailand plans to ban all plastic scrap imports within two years.
- Malaysia and Vietnam stop issuing new import permits for certain materials.
- China intends to ban import of all recovered materials by 2020.
- Thailand temporarily bans scrap plastic waste imports.
- CalRecycle's June 4, 2018 Recycling Globally Workshop: California’s Role in Adapting to a New Market Climate | View the workshop
Recycling in California
The export of recyclable materials is a key component of California's recycling infrastructure. Recent changes to international policies restricting foreign imports of recyclable materials, coupled with the need to reduce contamination levels in recycling streams and a declining global market value for some recyclables, have resulted in significant challenges for the solid waste and recycling industry, local governments, and Californians.
Each year, California exports about a third of the recyclable material it collects. Historically, most of that material—particularly unsorted mixed paper and mixed plastics—went to China for processing and manufacturing into new products. China’s recent strict contamination limits and import bans have led to a stockpiling of materials at California solid waste and recycling facilities and declining markets for recyclables.
International Policies Affecting Global Commodity Markets
Global policies are reshaping the flow of recyclable material around the world. See more information about why and how China and other countries have restricted recyclable imports.
State Response and Resources
In the immediate term, CalRecycle is coordinating with local enforcement agencies in order to address challenges and provide guidance around storage of processed recyclable material. In addition, the department is coordinating with local jurisdictions to share examples of local actions that address changing markets for recyclable materials. See more information about the state’s responses and available resources.
Local Response and Resources
See more information about how California jurisdictions are responding to market changes.
Timeline of Recycling Market Changes
Additional Information on International Recycling Markets
- Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI): China’s Scrap Trade Policy
- Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA): What You Need to Know About China’s Waste Import Restrictions
- National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA)
- World Trade Organization: China and the WTO
Science Advances: The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade
- China moves to extend ban to all recovered materials, Plastics Recycling Update (A Resource Recycling, Inc. publication)
- Special Report--China's Changing Import Regulations, Waste 360
- What Chinese import policies mean for all 50 states, Waste Dive
- Plastic News
- Recycling: The Crisis After China’s ‘No’, Bloomberg
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