Waste plastic foam recycling status and actions in Asian countries


Although the economic strength of many Asian countries is growing stronger with infrastructure growth reaches 6% to 7% annually, the recycling works of these countries are not doing well. Due to environmental concerns, China has already taken action in 2017 to ban the import of various plastics, including polystyrene.


China's ban on waste plastics not only forced the waste plastics exporters in Europe and the United States to seek new recycling methods, but also put forward higher requirements for domestic recycling of polystyrene waste.



Polystyrene foam is considered too bulky to be collected by local recyclers, and it has a low recycling rate and is often thrown away as trash. But in fact, the recycled polystyrene can be made into raw material for making new foam products at a cost that 40% cheaper than relying on entirely new materials.


Japan has the best waste management system in Asia. Most foreigners who come to Japan for the first time are often surprised by the very systematic and precise separation and disposal of waste in Japan's recycling system.



At a recycling plant across to Tokyo, staff wearing masks picked out countless pieces of plastic waste, fuelled by the country's obsession with original packaging, and famously strict rules that ensure most of the wastes are recycled and reused. The sorted waste will be compressed and squeezed into giant bales that are moved to large hangars.


China's government is also paying more attention to the recycling of plastic waste. Taking polystyrene recycling as an example, the earlier recycling of polystyrene mainly involves post-industrial and commercial fields, and now it has been gradually expanded to residential areas. Recently, with the support of local government, Shanghai city management agency has adopted a polystyrene compactor from INTCO recycling, and has set up a model for the city’s waste management work.


The polystyrene recycling work in Asian countries must be further developed. Waste plastic import ban is only the first step, all the countries are expected to establish a integrated recycling system.