Stranded assets: what does China's import ban mean for the UK waste industry?

China’s ban on imports of certain recyclate is a bigger threat to the waste industry than Brexit, say industry insiders, but it is also an opportunity to rethink how the UK recycles its waste. Conor McGlone investigates

Chinese man processing shredded plastic. Photograph: CPress Photo Limited/Alamy Stock Photo

Plastics recycling workshop in Nanchang, Jiangxi province: China is the major destination for the world’s recycling waste. Photograph: CPress Photo Limited/Alamy Stock Photo

The language coming from the Chinese government is provocative. In a determined push to stop the import of yang laji or ‘foreign garbage’ on to its shores, China launched its National Sword policy back in March 2017.

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