China’s waste import ban spells trouble for New Zealand

Government officials talking about the waste import banEnvironment officials in New Zealand will need to think of a solution for disposing of plastic and paper waste, and they need to act soon.

That is because China will no longer import certain waste products by the end of 2017, when it will ban such imports due to the harsh effects of imported recycling to its environment. The ban has already affected global plastic prices and raised doubts whether it remains economical to plastic in some situations.

Price of Recycling

Plastics New Zealand data revealed that New Zealand exported over 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste in the first nine months of 2017. China and Hong Kong received around half of that volume. In 2016, New Zealand’s waste exports to China amounted to $21 million, comprising $8.2 million of plastic, $9.6 million of unsorted paper, $3 million of steel slag and textile waste worth below $20,000.

Scrap metal dealers in Auckland, Wellington and other cities like McCamish Metals may take on more recycling work for metal waste, yet the ban still highlights a need for a new initiative on waste disposal. Simon Wilkinson, Plastics New Zealand environmental projects’ manager, said that landfills in New Zealand might become more polluted since some businesses will find it cheaper to dump plastic.

Zero Waste

Councils will need to step up its sustainable efforts to combat the looming problem of waste disposal. The Auckland Council, for instance, achieved recognition for its progress on the Resource Recovery Network. The city implemented the network to accomplish a target of zero-waste landfills by 2040.

The initiative also includes the creation of 12 community recycling centres in the next 10 years. This allowed the council to receive WasteMINZ Award for Excellence for the second year in a row.


The New Zealand government and councils should work together on how to implement more sustainable ways of disposing of waste.