China’s foreign waste ban is forcing Australia to rethink recycling

As China has announced that it will ban foreign waste imports next year, Australian recycling companies say they are already feeling the pressure.

China is the world’s largest importer of waste materials, but it plans to stop the practice because of increasing health and environmental concerns, prompting Australia to find a home for the tons of waste it was used to exporting overseas.

“To be frank, prices have absolutely collapsed,” said Garth Lamb, the business development manager at Re.Group, which processes recycled materials.

“The biggest buyer of these materials has exited the market. The market is awash with materials so even if you are not exporting directly to China, everyone is impacted by this because there is a lot of material that used to go to China that no longer has a home.”

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