China will ban all imports of solid waste from Jan. 1, 2021, authorities have said.
The dumping, stacking and disposal of waste products from overseas on Chinese territory will also be banned, according to a notice issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the Ministry of Commerce, and the General Administration of Customs.
The total ban is the culmination of policies introduced since 2017 to phase out the import of solid waste. For example, in late 2017 China banned the import of 24 types of solid waste, including unsorted paper, textiles and vanadium slag.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world's largest importer, despite its limited capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally brought foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
With the growing public awareness of environmental issues and the success of China's green development drive, the country's solid waste imports have decreased significantly. Last year's imports stood at 13.48 million tonnes, down from 22.63 million tonnes in 2018. In the first 10 months of this year, such imports plunged 42.7 percent year on year.