Restriction of the plastic waste import in China affects the waste importers in Asia

Saleng group (Tri-cycle collectors or individual collectors) protested at customs department in order to object the import of illegal plastic scaps and asked them to cancel all import of the illegal plastic due to that fact that the import significantly decreases the price of plastic scaps in Thailand.

Deputy Director-General of the Customs Department came out to negotiate and explained that the department is only follow a law. The illegal smuggling occurs in the frontier that is temporarily permitted areas.

In developed countries, there are policies and laws encouraging plastic waste to be recycled, especially in the European Union (EU) and Japan, which have invested massive amounts of money in building infrastructure for managing plastic waste in both collections, sorting, and recycling. In 2016, 31.1% of plastic wastes was recycled from the total plastic wastes 27.1 million tons.

Since China introduced the imports limitation of plastic waste in January 2018, INTERPOL found that the route of many plastic wastes cannot be exported from China changed to countries mainly in South Asia and Southeast Asia. On the other hand, European countries and North America has shifted its destination countries to Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, and including Turkey.

The overflow of plastic wastes into China’s neighboring countries results in these countries began to launch strict laws including more stringent checks at the border, especially in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. It affects the import of waste paper also. The government has kept an eye on the importers because the waste papers may be contained with plastic wastes. So, some Asian countries that do not have any significant increase in the import of plastic wastes have concerns about smuggling. It is because these countries do not have adequate fundamental structure of recycling processes.