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China announce ban on selected plastics, papers and cardboard.

China has recently announced a ban on a range of imported waste paper and plastic materials, prompting concern at the impact such a ban may have on the UK’s recycling industry.

Waste Cost Reduction Services (WCRS) views China’s announcement as an opportunity and believes it will over time, have a positive effect of increasing investment in the country’s recycling infrastructure.

The UK generates 3.7 million tonnes of plastic waste each year and a relatively small proportion (less than 11%) is exported to China. According to Reuters, of the 7.3 million tonnes of waste plastics imported by the Chinese, only 5% arrives from the UK. The UK’s government agencies are in the process of seeking alternative countries who are willing to take up the slack and accept such a recycling task.

As leading specialists in waste and recycling management, WCRS operates nationwide and manages the waste for many of the country’s leading organisations, from entertainment and venues to logistics and retail. The company has a series of efficient and highly effective practices and processes already in place and believes it is unlikely these will be greatly affected. The company stands by its belief that, traditional methods such as the segregation of materials as far as possible and the baling of cardboard, papers and plastics remains the most economical and efficient recycling technique.

It is likely the Chinese ban on specific wastes will have a negative impact on recycling prices. A broad analysis of export prices for 2016 and 2017, indicates how plastics in general have been on the decline since the middle of last year, whilst figures for all variants except for mixed papers were relatively consistent and in fact relatively buoyant.

To what extent and over what timescale cannot be predicted, however, WCRS and its supply chain partners remain fully committed to providing a cost effective and environmentally sound waste and recycling solution to all its clients and aim to relay any dramatic or influential changes accordingly.

For further information please contact your WCRS Account Manager, call the head office on 0844 846 2000 or visit

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