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Plastic waste exports drop

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U.S. exporters shipped 67% less plastic scrap in the first quarter of this year, than the first quarter of 2017.

The decline was mainly caused by China, which no longer appears in the top 10 destinations of U.S. scrap plastic importers.

China effectively banned scrap plastic from import in 2018, but the small volume entering the country still made it one of the largest importers of U.S. scrap plastic that year. Weight has continued to fall in2019, and Chinese imports during the first quarter were down 98.6% from 2017.

But the plastics decline was also driven by shifting markets beyond China. Although countries that recently increased their recovered fiber shipments have maintained those higher import volumes, many that brought in more plastic in 2018 have since enacted stringent policies reducing the imports.