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China's newly launched sword policy cutting deep into recycling

Guest Commentary

 

January 18, 2018



By DON C. BRUNELL

Contributor

Earlier this month, China launched its “national sword” policy which bans many recyclable materials it traditionally imported. Meanwhile, its upcoming March edict imposing a lower limit on contaminants is having global reverberations.

Since the 1990s, the world has shipped the bulk of its used paper, plastics and metals to China. In 2016, its imported value was $18 billion. Nearly one-third of North America’s recyclables were processed in China — much of it from West Coast states.

China was hungry for scrap and tolerated higher contamination level which...



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