Within months of China banning waste imports in 2018, shipments of waste from Europe, Australia, Canada, the United States and Japan began to arrive at ports in Southeast Asia, including to Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.
According to Greenpeace, between 2016 and 2018 the ten countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) saw plastic waste imports grow by 171%.
Waste shipments began arriving in Malaysia shortly after the ban and importers soon set up new businesses to process plastic waste.
Asian governments are now banning plastic waste imports. This will be followed by a comprehensive plastic ban in 2021. Exporters are being force to find other markets to ship their waste.