The introduction of National Sword restrictions on the import of recyclables to China has permitted some commentators to call for recyclables to be used in Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities. Several have proposed EfW as a solution for plastic, paper and cardboard. While EfW is higher up the waste hierarchy and beneficial over landfill (it recovers the full energy value), I caution against this line of argument.
If you haven’t heard it already, the household recycling industry is in all sorts of trouble. 2018 is going to be a troubled year for most MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities) and therefore their council clients.
The Chinese National Sword policy has bitten and bitten hard. National Sword is the Chinese government’s mechanism to restrict import licences for recycled product and limit contamination rates of those recyclables to less than 0.5%.