As recycling saves energy it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. China’s National Sword policy slowed or restricted the export of recyclables from the U.S. Until recently, China was a large importer of recyclable materials. Mixed paper dropped from $75 per ton in November 2016 to $0 per ton in June 2018.

In mid-June 2018, a 30-day recertification process was enacted that basically stopped the export of these materials for this time period.

China’s “National Sword” policy, enacted in January 2018, banned the import of most plastics and other materials headed for that nation’s recycling processors, which had handled nearly half of the world’s recyclable waste for the past quarter century. Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials. China stopped buying paper, plastic recycling to cut down on pollution, and now many US cities will scale back, stop recycling programs

Recovered materials account for our nation’s 6th largest national export to China.

It banned four categories and 24 types on imports starting in 2018. China’s Green Sword: Impacts to State and Local Governments–U.S. Just as legislation has the power to help a cause, it also can backfire and cause unintentional harm. China’s National Sword Policy On January 1, 2018, China implemented a ban on the importation of 24 categories of recyclable materials, including unsorted waste and scrap paper—what the U.S. industry describes as “mixed paper.” Then, starting March 1, 2018, China changed the contaminants control level for all other recovered paper imports By this time, US imports of recyclables to China had already dropped from a high of 13.3 million tons in 2013 to 9.3 million tons in 2016. Late-October 2017: Sortation response MRF operators report they are pushing for quality , and doing so by hiring more workers, installing new equipment or … At the start of January 2018, China began restrictions on the importation of recycled materials under its National Sword policy. Through the National Sword policy, China notified the World Trade Organization of its intent to ban the import of items such as mixed plastic, plastics that once contained food, rigid plastics, and mixed paper as of January 1, 2018. It is a policy in China that has banned the importation of certain types of solid waste, as well as set strict contamination limits on recyclable materials. National Sword, China’s customs inspection program that was launched in February of this year, and its subsequent import bans on mixed paper and various grades of postconsumer plastics have hit the U.S. recycling industry hard, particularly as of late September and into the fall. “The China National Sword policy is providing recycling program managers with an opportunity to reevaluate the costs, funding mechanisms and materials targeted by their curbside recycling programs in an effort to make them more sustainable and effective,” says Jeremy O’Brien, SWANA’s Director of Applied Research. Difficult political issues result in diverging and somewhat uncertain outcomes, which in turn require the industry’s close attention. Here TOMRA Sorting Recycling sets out how global waste recycling businesses can capitalize on the changes. Basically, National Sword was China’s ban on foreign recyclables. The Recycling Partnership (10/19/17) Media Coverage. China’s decision to restrict the range of recyclables it will take from the U.S., and the resulting emphasis on contamination in the recycling stream, raises some difficult political issues for local officials. And National Sword has steadily expanded, banning more recyclables since then, and it could potentially lead to the banning of all incoming recyclable materials by 2020, but that piece isn’t entirely clear yet. In addition, all recyclable commodities still allowed in the country are required to meet a 0.3% or less contamination limit. But in 2017, China passed the National Sword policy banning plastic waste from being imported — for the protection of the environment and people's health — beginning in January 2018. China's new waste import policy (China National Sword) and recyclables. “National Sword” becomes synonymous with the entire range of policies China has enacted slowing the flow of recyclables into the country. Commodity values have plummeted. What is the National Sword? It banned four categories and 24 types on imports starting in 2018. You may have heard the phrases “national sword” or “green sword” in the news lately. Let’s just hope that any decision is carefully thought out, right for the environment, and good for the recycling industry long term. China's New Waste and Recycling Policy includes strict contamination limits for recyclable materials.

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