Chinese Waste Crackdown Provides UK Quality Opportunity

15th March 2017 | Commercial Energy

The plastics industry says action on waste imports in China gives the UK an opportunity to drive up quality on recyclable materials. This is a result of China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) releasing more details about the crackdown on illegal shipments of waste into the country.

The GAC is working with the Environmental Protection Department, AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) and police on the operation. They have formed a task force to tackle any suspected illegal activities found at any stage from import through to the final recycling process, including processing methods and end products made from plastic regrinds.


According to the GAC, the task force will

  • Supervise the enterprises concerned and the materials held in stock
  • Follow all leads, investigate full chains of activities and take action against entities breaking the law
  • Identify high-risk goods and enterprises for priority checking, conduct follow-up checks of high-risk targets and penalise those convicted of not performing recycling operations or of supplying/ possessing illegal goods.

Of particular interest to the task force is the smuggling of foreign waste. This includes industrial waste, electronic scrap, household waste and plastic waste. In order to improve intelligence on foreign waste streams, the GAC says it will work closely with international law enforcement and take necessary joint actions.

Illegal activity in the import and export of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in China was the subject of a bill introduced to the US Congress in July 2016. This was after a study by the Senate Armed Services Committee found 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts in military equipment.

More than 70 per cent of the cases were traced back to Guangdong Province in southern China. The study said the counterfeiting industry converts them into products that seem to be new.

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