Last year, China announced it will no longer be importing plastic waste into the country and as new analysis shows, that’s a huge problem for the rest of the world. From 1988 to 2016, China imported 171 million metric tons of this surprisingly valuable commodity. With a total trade value of $81 billion, that’s 72% of all imported plastic waste over this time period.
Despite a big push recently from some governments to reduce consumption, the scale of the world’s plastic waste is huge and will remain so for some time. Until this changes, a lot of countries will have to make new plans for their disposal or, alternatively, make plans to fill the massive void in the market that’s been left by China.