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German recycling industry welcomes Chinese ban on plastic imports: expert

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-05-14 21:19

BERLIN - German recycling firms expect that a recently-announced ban on plastic imports in China will result in new business opportunities for the sector, an expert said Monday.

"The door has been shut on plastic waste entering China, but recyclates remain in high demand for the plastics-processing industry, including in China," Thomas Probst, an expert of the Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials (FASRM), said in a statement.

The export of plastic waste had "no future" and an eventual complete halt to the international practice was a "good thing," Probst said.

In April, China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced that China will ban imports of 32 types of solid waste in its latest move to reduce environmental pollution, in a bid to phase out imports of solid waste that can be replaced by domestic resources before the end of 2019.

Probst called on Germany to improve its own recycling performance by creating additional sorting and recycling facilities, as well as making greater use of recyclable plastic granulates for domestic industries.

"The use of plastic products from recyclates must become as natural in the future as the use of recycled paper already is," he said, adding that the public sector in particular had a responsibility to play a pioneering role in this context.

The urgent question of how to avoid and recycle plastic use in order to avert environmental damage will be a prominent subject of discussion at the Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials in Munich from Monday to Friday.

Germany's Federal Environmental Agency has estimated that 3 million tons of plastic packaging was generated in Germany in 2015, around half of which was incinerated.

The German federal government aims to lift the recycling quota for plastic packaging from currently some 36 percent to 63 percent by 2022, with a new packaging law that will take force from 2019 onwards.

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