China sees steep drop in material imports for recycling from January to May this year

China Customs Blue Sky 2020
China's General Administration of Customs launches the next round of Blue Sky 2020

China’s General Administration of Customs has revealed that material imports for recycling fell dramatically in the period January to May 2020.

Solid waste imports dropped by 45.2% compared to the same period the year before, down to just 3.225 million tonnes in total.


Despite the coronavirus epidemic, it also filed 81 criminal cases of smuggling of foreign garbage, which was a 58.1% decline year-on-year.

The data was revealed as China launched the next round of its Blue Sky 2020 action that saw 80 suspects arrested for illegal smuggling of foreign garbage.

China typically differentiates between permitted ‘solid waste’ imports and illegal ‘foreign garbage’ imports.

In a statement, the General Administration of Customs said: “In the next step, the General Administration of Customs will resolutely implement [President] Xi Jinping’s though of ecological civilisation, comprehensively prohibit the entry of foreign garbage, strengthen joint prevention and joint control and international law enforcement cooperation, strictly control the front of customs, insist on the combination of centralised and normalised attacks, and continue to increase the fight against smuggling, improve the effectiveness of comprehensive management, and fight the battle of blue sky, clear water and pure land.”

China is expected to ban solid waste imports before the end of this year.

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