China Waste Import – Proposed Changes

21.08.2017 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
China Waste Import – Proposed Changes

China has advised the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that by the end of 2017 it will no longer accept imports of 24 categories of solid waste as part of a Government campaign against “yang langi” or “foreign waste”. The article below is an unofficial translation of the WTO notification lodged by China.

For further information, or to be kept up to date on developments, please contact Ben Jarvis, Director China Economic and Trade Section, East Asia Branch, of DFAT at

In order to implement the “People’s Republic of China Environmental Protection Law” and the “People’s Republic of Solid Waste Pollution Prevention Law,” as well as to strengthen the management of solid waste, protect the environment, and protect human health, these Standards were developed.

These Standards were developed by the Soil and Environmental Management Division and Science and Technology Standards Division of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Standards Drafted by: China Environmental Science Research Institute
Standards Approved by: Ministry of Environmental Protection
Standards Implemented on: To Be Determined
Standards Interpreted by: ministry of Environmental Protection

Solid Waste Identification Criteria Rules


These Standards specify the criteria for identifying sources of solid waste, based on the identification criteria and the oversight requirements for the use and disposal processes for solid waste, substances that are not managed as solid wastes, and substances that are not managed as liquid wastes.

These Standards apply to the identification of solid waste substances (or materials) and goods (including products, merchandise) (hereinafter referred to as “substances”).
These Standards apply to liquid waste identification.
These Standards do not apply to the identification of radioactive waste.
These Standards do not apply to the classification of solid waste.
These Standards do not apply to solid waste substances with special identification criteria.

2.Specified Reference Documents

The contents of these Standards refer to the terms of the following documents. For undated references, the latest edition applies.
GB 18599

“Standards for Pollution Control on the Storage and Disposal Sites for General Industrial Solid Wastes”

3. Terms and Definitions

The following terms and definitions apply to these Standards.

3.1 “Solid Waste” refers to substances that have lost their original production or functional value; substances that have not lost their original value but were discarded or abandoned; gaseous semi-solid substances or substances placed in a container; goods and substances considered solid-waste by material and legal standards in administrative regulations.
3.2 “Solid Waste Identification” is to determine whether a material functions as solid waste.
3.3 “Recycling” refers to the extraction of materials from solid waste to use as a raw material or a fuel source.
3.4 “Treatment” refers to physical, chemical, biological, and other processes that render solid waste suitable for transport, storage, use and disposal.
3.5 “Disposal” refers to the burning of solid waste and the use of other methods to alter the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the material; the reduction of the amount of solid waste that has already been produced; the reduction of the volume of solid waste; activities that reduce or eliminate hazardous elements; or the final disposal of solid waste in landfills in line with environmental protection requirements.
3.6 “Target Products” refer to one or more products, including by-products, that are intended to be obtained during process design, construction and operation.
3.7 “By-Products” refer to substances that are produced alongside target products during production.

4. Basis for Identification of Solid Waste Origins

The following substances are classified as solid waste (excluding the substances included in Section 6).

4.1 Substances that have lost their original production or functional value include the following categories:

A) Products that do not meet prevailing national, local or industry development product standards (norms) during the production stage, or for quality reasons cannot be sold in the market, put into circulation or used in accordance with the original intended use of the material. For example, substandard goods, defective products, and other waste.
This does not include intermediate-grade goods that are in conformity with national, local, or industry standards or goods that have been reworked within the production enterprise;

B) Products that cannot be sold in the market, put into circulation or used in accordance with the original intended use of the material because they have surpassed their quality assurance period;

C) Products that cannot be sold in the market, put into circulation or used in accordance with the original intended use of the material because they have been contaminated, incorporated, or mixed with useless or harmful substances such that the quality cannot meet requirements;

D) Materials where the service life expires during consumption or during use, and cannot continue to be used according to the original intended use of the material;

E) Substances that have been confiscated and investigated by law enforcement agencies and need to be scrapped, destroyed or otherwise harmlessly processed, including (but not limited to) fake and shoddy products, products that infringe upon intellectual property rights, drugs and other prohibited products;

F) Waste material that was created for the purpose of production, where there is no market demand and that cannot be sold on the market or circulated;

G) Materials that were damaged due to natural disaster, force majeure [unforeseeable circumstances], or man-made disasters and cannot continue to be used in accordance with their original use

H) Materials that have lost their original function and can no longer be used;

I) Substances that cannot be sold, circulated or used in the market for other reasons.

4.2 By-products produced during the production process include the following:

A) Scrap, excess material, residual substances, etc. from product processing and manufacturing;

B) Residual materials generated from extraction, purification, electrolysis, electrodeposition, purification, modification, surface treatment, and other processes, including (but not limited to) the following:

1. Blast furnace slag, steel slag, rolling steel oxide, iron alloy slag, manganese residue generated from ferrous metal smelting or machine production processing;
2. Copper slag, lead slag, tin slag, zinc slag, aluminum ash (slag) and other fire smelting slag, and red mud, electrolytic anode mud, electrolytic aluminum anode carbon residue, electrodeposition slag, acid (alkali), purification slag and other wet smelting slag generated from non-ferrous metal smelting or machine production processing;
3. Plating slag, polished dust generated from a metal surface treatment process;

C) Residual material produced in the synthesis of materials, cracking, fractionation, distillation, dissolution, precipitation and other processes, including (but not limited to) the following:
1. Waste acid, waste alkali, white clay, oil shale slag generated in the process of oil refining;
2. Acid residue, [waste mother liquor ?], distillation kettle residue, carbide slag generated in an organic chemical production process;
3. Phosphogypsum, ammonia alkali mud, chromium slag, pyrite slag, salt mud generated during an inorganic chemical production process;

D. Waste rock, tailings, coal gangue, etc. generated from metal ore, non-metallic mineral and coal mining mineral processing;
E. Drilling mud, waste fracturing fluid, sludge or silt oil, [base oil], oil spill, etc. generated from oil, natural gas, geothermal mining;
F. Thermal power plant boilers, other industrial and commercial boilers, industrial furnaces and other thermal or combustion facilities, fuel produced by combustion, coal slag and other residual substances;
G. Residual and damaged substances removed from furnaces, reactors, reaction tanks, pipes, containers and other facilities and equipment during facility or equipment maintenance and repair processes;
H. Recovered dust and powder that was generated in material crushing, grinding, sieving, milling, cutting, processing and packaging, that cannot directly be used as a product or raw material;
I. Daily waste, construction waste and other residual material generated during construction, engineering, and operational processes;
J. Animal feces, animal carcasses, etc. generated from livestock or aquaculture production;
K. Crop stalks, plant foliage, and other agricultural waste generated in agriculture production;
L. Animal carcasses and other laboratory waste material generated from teaching, research, manufacturing, health care, etc.;
M. Other by-products generated during production processes.

4.3 Substances generated from environmental management and pollution control processes include the following:

A. Soot, dust (including fly ash) collected during flue gas and exhaust gas purification processes and dust collection processes;
B. Flue Gas Desulfurization Gypsum [FGD Gypsum] generated from the desulfurization of gypsym and [denitrification catalyst waste] generated by flue gas denitrification;
C. Coal tar produced by gas purification;
D. Sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid produced as a by-product of the flue-gas purification process;
E. Sludge and other waste material resulting from water purification and wastewater treatment;
F. Concentrates generated from the treatment of waste water or waste (including leachate from solid waste landfills);
G. Septic tank sludge, toilet feces;
H. Fly ash, bottom slag, or other ash produced from a solid waste incinerator;
I. Residual material produced during the composting process;
J. Plant foliage from gardening and park management clean up;
K. Floating debris and dredged sludge generated from cleaning rivers, ditches, lakes, waterways, bathing [pools?], and other water environments;
L. Activated carbon, membrane filters, and other filters used during gas, odor, or waste water purification processes;
M. Pollutants from the remediation of polluted land that are disposed of or handled in any of the following ways:
1. Landfill;
3. [Co-processing?] cement kiln;
4. To produce brick, tile, road construction materials and other building materials.
N. Various other substances produced during other environmental management and pollution remediation processes.

4.4 Other:
A. Substances prohibited by law;
B.Substances recognized by the Environmental Protection Administrative Department of the State Council as solid wastes.

5. Solid waste identification and disposal process

5.1 Under any conditions, use or disposal of solid waste in any of the following ways is still considered solid waste management (except in Article 6.2):
A. Direct application to land or the production of substances to be applied to land (including composting) for land improvement, land modification, land restoration, and other land use, as well as the production of road materials;
B. Incineration (including the incineration of thermal energy and the incineration of refuse derived fuels), or the production of fuel or elements in fuel;
C. Landfill disposal;
D. Dumping or [stacking/piling];
E. Other disposal methods determined by the Administrative Department of Environmental Protection under the State Council.

5.2 Use of solid waste that satisfies appropriate regulations and meets the following conditions is not to be considered solid waste management (not including the use or disposal situations described in Article 5.1):
A. Use of alternative raw materials that conform to national, local development, or industry access product quality standards;
B. Use of materials that comply with the relevant national pollutant discharge (control) standards or technical requirements, including situations where the production process of a product discharges harmful substances into the environment within the product’s content limit. Where there are no national pollution control standards or technical specifications, the content of a harmful component within the product may not be higher than the content of that harmful component within the product of a substitute raw material. In the production of a product, the concentration of a harmful substances discharged into the environment may not be higher than the concentration of harmful substances discharged into the environment using alternative raw materials. If there are no substitute raw materials, then this condition may not be satisfied.
C. The materials have a stable and reasonable market demand.

6. Substances not considered solid waste

6.1 The following substances are not treated as solid waste:
A. Any material that does not require repair or processing for its intended use, or where the production process has been repaired to meet the product quality standards prevailing at the national, local or industry level to be used for its original purpose;
B. Substances that are returned directly to the original production process in the field or returned to the production process without being stored or accumulated;
C. Contaminated soil that has been restored after use;
D. Solid waste samples used for laboratory analysis or scientific research.

6.2 The disposal of substances in the following ways are not considered solid waste management:

A. Metal ore, non-metallic mineral and coal minerals that stay in or return directly to the mined area in line with GB 18599, Class I of the General Industrial Solid Waste Requirements for the mining of waste rock, tailings and coal gangue. This does not include other pollutants other than mining waste rock, tailings, and coal gangue.
B. Materials produced in the construction of a project are in accordance with regulatory requirements or national standards.

6.3 The Administrative Department of Environmental Protection under the State Council shall identify substances that are not managed as solid waste.

7. Substances not considered liquid waste management material

7.1 Liquids that meet the relevant laws, regulations, and emission standards that can be discharged into the environmental water or municipal sewage pipe network, as well as the treatment facilities for wastewater and sewage.
7.2 Liquid that has undergone physical, chemical, physical-chemical or biological waste water treatment processes to meet environmental water or municipal sewage pipe network and disposal facility regulations and emission standards.
7.3 Waste water, waste alkali, and post-treatment water that meet the requirements of Articles 7.1 or 7.2.

8. Implementation and Supervision

These Standards shall be supervised by the Administrative Department of Environmental Protection, at or above the county level.



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