A shock with worldwide repercussions: China’s ban on plastic waste imports, introduced at the beginning of 2018, has left the global recycling market reeling. The loss of the largest importer caused a trade earthquake that has had serious environmental repercussions.  For many years, plastic waste was shipped to China “because there was demand from its manufacturing sector, because [the country] wasn’t producing enough virgin plastic,” explains Berkeley University’s Kate O’Neill. Now, however, the production gap has been bridged as China “produces plastics for its domestic market and has a lot of plastic scrap of its own to recycle. This is very similar to the dynamics with electronic waste, because China imported a lot of that for a while – and illegally for quite a wh...