In 2004 the Guardian wrote that China was becoming the UK’s rubbish dump, that they were “sucking in material from all over the world" and there was no regulation as to the quality, or the contamination of the materials being processed.
Now 13 years on, and China is taking more of an interest in the wellbeing of its people and environment. Having filed a notification with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) detailing plans to ban four classes of 24 kinds of solid waste by the end of the year, China has made it clear that it is no longer prepared to process levels of hazardous waste or dirty contamination within its imported materials.
The UK and other waste exporters, will need to clean-up their act.
Simon Ellin, Recycling Association Chief Executive, as quoted in Recycling and Waste World, said; "We launched our Quality First campaign almost a year ago to highlight how we risked losing China as our biggest market for recycled materials if we did not get our act together, and now China has taken the action that proves it.”
“China's filing of this notification to the WTO has to act as a wake-up call to all parts of the supply chain that quality has to come first."