China has been defined, as a country, the biggest polluter of the world.
Speaking of numbers, in 2018 the amount of trash produced by China and the USA was about the same – 211 million tons.
The days of importing trash are over
China actually did not produce all that trash on its own. It also used to import trash from other countries. This procedure was quite convenient for small and big countries that could not afford proper recycling methodologies. China, on the other hand, has a vast territory and a massive population, and such projects can be better handled. Yet, the quantity of material became too much to be properly managed.
The waste was starting to affect Chinese citizens.
For this reason, China decided to stop importing waste, and work harder to better recycle. But that may not be enough to solve the problem.
Less plastic and waste for the generations to come
While recycling is great, reducing usage is even better. China’s commitments to ecology are more and more. The last one is to be carbon neutral by 2060. For this reason, also the methodologies to use need to be upgraded. China decided to start banning single use plastic products such as plastic tableware in its two biggest cities: Shanghai and Beijing. That was in 2020.
By 2022 China plans to ask the same to all Chinese cities. At the same time, Shanghai and Beijing enforced recycling policies much more strictly and citizens got finally used to separating the trash themselves. While other cities did not adopt these procedures yet, it is likely they will have to in the next few years. The combination of better policies, improved through experience in the pilot cities, and already experimented technology (for example smart bins) will make the change much more easy for Chinese citizens.