China puts our rubbish to the sword
A TOUGHENING of waste processing policies by the People's Republic Of China may yet be the catalyst for the revival of stalled recycling programs in some parts of Australia.
What was known as China's National Sword policy was introduced on January 1 which put a ban on 24 categories of solid waste including plastics, unsorted paper and textile materials with a contaminant level of more than 0.5 per cent.
However, the sudden introduction of a replacement program for the rest of 2018 known as Blue Sky shows a hardening in China's attitude to stop turning the country into what the General Administrator of Customs, Zhang Guangzhi, called a "foreign garbage shop."
"We are investigating a number of large-scale smuggling cases of wastes, eradicating a number of smuggling gangs and cutting off a number of smuggling routes and chains of rubbish, and resolutely blocking foreign rubbish," he said.
While confirming Chinese policies are making it harder to process offshore, Bellingen Mayor, Cr Dominic King, has urged residents to keep recycling through the yellow bins and to minimise the amount of contamination.
Bellingen Shire Council believes National Sword presented a great opportunity for Australian industry and all levels of government by developing local capacity to reprocess recycling to create local industries and jobs.
"It is also important we reduce the amount of waste and recycling we generate by consuming less, buying recycled products and reusing more," Cr King said.
"Reduce, reuse and then recycle.
"The China policy has placed some stress on our local recycling industry.
"However, it is also providing us with a great opportunity to grow local, sustainable businesses to ensure our resources continue to be used in our region.
"We can all do our bit to realise this opportunity.
"Council is working with all levels of government to advocate policy and structural changes and to incentivise local solutions."