As China restricts importing certain types of plastic for their recycling plants, it could mean a displacement of an estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic waste by 2030 according to researchers at the University of Georgia. The United States and other industrialized nations that have been exporting their plastic waste to China since the 90s. China had collected around 45 percent of the world’s plastic waste. The nations will need to find another route to handle their displaced plastic since the ban, and many of them have turned to dumping the waste into landfills.
The US in the past would send about 4,000 shipping containers full of plastic recyclable a day to China. China’s decision for the ban of 24 type of solid waste as the country moves towards a more aggressive antipollution push. As of now, some of the plastic waste has been sent to other countries with recycling plants, but they cannot fill the void left by China. Other plastics sit in storage waiting for China to let up on their restrictions. But, as many researchers fear, the plastic waste will end up being buried in a landfill or being dumped into the ocean and surrounding environment.