FROM:                  Jesse Maxwell, Advocacy & eLearning Program Manager, SWANA
TO:                         SWANA Core Advocacy Group
DATE:                    January 12, 2018
SUBJECT:             Chinese Government Finalizes Waste Import Restrictions

The Chinese government has finalized the proposed waste import restrictions and, unfortunately, have not made any changes to the categories of material that are banned or the contamination levels applicable to paper and plastic. SWANA is, and will be, speaking with U.S. and Canadian government officials, municipalities, other industry groups, recycling companies, and foreign stakeholders, to identify next steps. On January 11, SWANA issued a press release about the finalized standards which has been picked up by various industry news sites.

SWANA have been contacted frequently by the media in the U.S. and Canada over the past several weeks about this issue, and we expect there will be additional press inquiries in the days and weeks ahead. With 2018 import quotas at dramatically lower levels than in previous years, some material is already going to alternative foreign markets in Asia. However, we understand that storage of baled material is occurring in numerous locations in the United States and Canada, and that in several states and provinces, certain material is being disposed in landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. We expect this to continue, and potentially occur in additional locations, as the waste restrictions take effect. A round-up of some of these news stories were published in this week’s I Am SWANA newsletter.

The impact of China’s waste import restrictions on North American recycling programs and operations will be the subject of a high-profile Keynote Session at SWANApalooza in Denver on March 6. EPA and Waste Management, along with municipal and state officials to be identified shortly, will discuss how they are responding to this challenge. I hope you will join us for this timely session and the other networking and educational opportunities that we will be providing – with the assistance of our Colorado chapter – in Denver.  Please encourage members in your chapters and Technical Divisions to register for SWANApalooza.