Trends and Issues in the Plastics Cycle in China, with Special Emphasis on Trade and Recycling

CREED Working Paper 16

Posted: 7 Feb 1998

See all articles by Pieter van Beukering

Pieter van Beukering

VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)

Yongjiang Li

Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC)

Zhao Yumin

Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC)

Zhou Xin

NEPA Information Research Institute

Date Written: December 1997

Abstract

Demand for plastic products in China is increasing rapidly. Yet China has neither the productive capacity to keep pace with demand, nor the management systems to adequately deal with the increasing burden of plastic waste. These problems highlight the potential role for recycling in the industry. This paper provides an overview of the main trends and issues in the plastic cycle in China, with an emphasis on recycling. Since China is the world's largest importer of waste plastics, possible effects of this trade are described and priority issues are identified. From an economic perspective, the projected increase in demand for plastics will create markets of sufficient magnitude for both the primary and the secondary plastic industries to develop, with little competition between the two. The current informal sector will play an important role in the development of the plastic recovery industry. From an environmental perspective the post-consumption stage is identified as the most intensive stage in the cycle. From an international perspective, the process of substituting domestic for imported raw materials will mean that Chinese production will have to meet international levels of efficiency to avoid protective trade measures. This will also stimulate exports of plastic products. With regard to the rapidly increasing imports of waste plastics it is still unclear what the exact impact is. A more rigorous analysis is needed to clarify this issue.

JEL Classification: O13, Q28

Suggested Citation

van Beukering, Pieter and Li, Yongjiang and Yumin, Zhao and Xin, Zhou, Trends and Issues in the Plastics Cycle in China, with Special Emphasis on Trade and Recycling (December 1997). CREED Working Paper 16, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=56029

Pieter Van Beukering (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) ( email )

De Boelelaan 1115
Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands
+ 31 20 444 9555 (Phone)
+ 31 20 444 9553 (Fax)

Yongjiang Li

Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC)

Ministry of Foreign Trade
Beijing
China

Zhao Yumin

Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) ( email )

Ministry of Foreign Trade
Beijing
China

Zhou Xin

NEPA Information Research Institute ( email )

Beijing
China
+ 86 10 683 93245 (Phone)

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