China’s new role in the global recycling economy

A keynote session during last week’s Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference examined what effects China’s regulations are having and what comes next for new market developments.

Although China’s National Sword regulations might have caught some foreign recyclers off guard, economic and social indicators show the momentum had been building for years, said Andrew Coflan, an associate on the Eurasia Group’s Asia team, during the keynote session.

Coflan said one of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s primary policy goals since he took office in 2012 has been reducing pollution, leading to stricter environmental standards on multiple fronts. For decades, China had serious pollution from manufacturing and energy production plants, in addition to trouble from quite a number of illegal recycling operations.

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