Will China’s Recovered Paper Problem Become Your Problem?, Paper360º September/October 2018
China imports millions of tons of recovered paper (RCP) each year for the production of paper and packaging products vital to its economy. Along with that recovered paper is a lot of unusable waste, including glass and plastic, which ends up in landfills. We estimate that China sends 25 million tons of waste paper product to landfills annually, a number that is expected to grow to as high as 65 million tons by 2025.
With China’s production of municipal solid waste (MSW) projected to race past that of the US, their government is now addressing it as a critical issue. When the ban on unsorted waste paper coming into the country was announced in 2017, along with a tightening of quality requirements for other types of paper, it resulted in a dramatic plunge in the amount of recovered paper imported by China (Fig. 1).
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