China's Green Fence Policy

Sometimes a shipper who is looking to export scrap metal might contact a trusted freight forwarder, who normally handles real cargo and freight, to export their garbage to China. Even if you were lucky enough to get someone to transport your trash to China, there might be a slight problem now. Recently, China installed the Green Fence Policy that essentially bans most imports to China comprised of post-consumer products and trash. The policy change can best be explained due to China’s growing environmental awareness.

China has always been the biggest recipient of US trash and scrap metal. Every year, billions of dollars worth of scrap metal were transported by freight from the US to China. And it was not just scrap metal and trash; China was also the biggest recipient of US recycling. Most people assume that we just store our recycling in US landfills, but we actually shipped a large portion of our recycling to China, including 75% of all recycled aluminum. China received hundreds of millions of dollars every year from the US for this.

Now that China’s Green Fence Policy is official, the United States has some tough choices to make with regards to our scrap metal and our recycling. Could we find another nation in the Far East or Europe to receive our scrap metal and recycling as an export? How would that impact the international shipping rates for those exports? Or should the United States improve its landfills to meet the needs of our scrap metal and recycling? Either way, we must act fast before the trash and recycling starts piling up high.