International Trade in Recyclable and Hazardous Waste in Asia

International Trade in Recyclable and Hazardous Waste in Asia

Edited by Michikazu Kojima and Etsuyo Michida

Little is known about the volume of international recycling in Asia, the problems caused and the struggle to properly manage the trade. This pathbreaking book addresses this gap in the literature, and provides a comprehensive overview of the international trade flow of recyclable waste in Asia and related issues.

Chapter 3: Recyclable waste trade of Mainland China

Aya Yoshida

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, asian environment, economics and finance, asian economics, environmental economics, international economics, environment, asian environment, environmental economics


China began importing recyclable waste in the 1990s because of a scarcity of raw materials domestically (Yoshida et al. 2005). Economic growth has continued at a high level and China requires huge volumes of resources to support its industrial demand and economic activity. In order to secure the resources needed to support the country’s high rate of economic growth, China imports various forms of recyclable waste. In addition, low labor costs in China make the recycling of low-grade recyclable waste economically feasible, in comparison to other industrial nations of the world. Resource demand and cheap labor have acted as triggers for a huge wave of recyclable waste imports from overseas. Although China is actively utilizing recyclable waste from overseas, it is also well on the way to becoming what can only be termed “the world’s dumping ground.” Serious environmental pollution has been generated by improper recycling.

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