Research progress has been made in the global trade network of waste polyethylene plastics by the Urban Environment

[ Instrument network instrument research and development ] Recently, the Resource Cycle and Urban Metabolism Research Group of the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences has made progress in the research on the global trade network pattern of polyethylene (PE) plastic waste.
This study describes the characteristics of the global waste PE plastics trade network from 1976 to 2017. The results show that as of 2016, the scale and complexity of the network have continued to increase. Since the mid-1990s, waste PE plastics have generally flowed from developed countries represented by EU countries and the United States to developing countries represented by China. Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China’s imports of waste PE plastics have increased sharply, and in 2014 it absorbed more than 60% of global exports. A series of solid waste import management measures starting with the "Green Fence" action in 2013 have led to a significant decline in China's imports of waste PE plastics and global exports since 2014. Developing countries such as Malaysia, Turkey, and Vietnam have gradually begun to import large amounts of waste PE in recent years, but the import volume of these countries is not enough to replace China as the next waste PE plastic recycling industry center. The research results provide enlightenment for alleviating the challenges faced by the global waste PE plastics trading system. It is believed that developed and developing countries should work together to strengthen the domestic ability to independently digest waste PE plastics and jointly establish a stronger global circular economy system.
Related results were published on Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. Xu Wen, a guest student of the Resource Cycle and Urban Metabolism Research Group, is the first author, and researcher Chen Weiqiang is the corresponding author. The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the guiding project of the Fujian Provincial Department of Science and Technology.

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