Chinese Environment Minister seeking to achieve zero imports of solid waste

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Chinese Environment Minister Li Ganjie
Chinese Environment Minister Li Ganjie speaking at the National Ecological Environment Protection Working Conference in Beijing

In a speech in Beijing, Chinese Environment Minister Li Ganjie has said that one of his key priorities is to achieve zero imports of solid waste.

Speaking at the National Ecological Environment Protection Working Conference, the head of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment set out his 12 goals for 2020.

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The Chinese Environment Minister’s fourth goal was to “solidly advance the war of pure land defence” and in this he said that China needed to “basically achieve zero import of solid waste”.

In the context of the other 12 goals, this does not seem to suggest that zero import of solid waste will be achieved necessarily in 2020, but that it is a process.

Indeed, the latest draft of the Revised Law on the Prevention and Control of Environment mentions a “gradual” reduction to zero waste imports.

There is also discussion in the recycling sector of whether OCC and news & pam will be reclassified as a “renewable” resource rather than a waste by the Chinese. It has already announced plans to do this in 2020 for copper and aluminium, and it is hoped it will do this with permitted paper grades either at the same time or at a later date.

The Chinese Environment Minister also said that the country had been steadfast in preventing the import of foreign garbage in 2019 as part of its overall ecological efforts.

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