China’s Final Contamination Standard for Recyclables Remains .5%

China’s Final Contamination Standard for Recyclables Remains .5%

Short-Term Challenges Will Give Way to New Opportunities

Arlington, VA – Today, the Chinese government announced that its standard for certain recyclables is .5 percent, unchanged from its proposal last year.

“NWRA has always supported China’s efforts to improve its environment. However, we believe there are better ways to achieve those goals than to tighten restrictions on imported recyclables. We have said before that the .5 percent standard would be nearly impossible for our members to meet and it could cause some short-term disruptions in the industry. However, it could also present opportunities as our members continue to adjust. As an association, we will continue to work with our industry partners and the federal government to reduce the burden these stringent rules have placed on the waste and recycling industry,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

NWRA filed comments in December related to what was then a proposed standard. In those comments, NWRA urged the Chinese government to adopt international standards. NWRA also expressed concern that the environment would be the biggest loser when recycling programs fail and manufacturers resort to using resource intensive virgin resources.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association