TODAY |

NZ shipments of plastic waste to China stopped by ban on 'toxic international waste'

Every year, New Zealand has shipped more than 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste to China, but not anymore. 

China has changed its rules on importing waste to be recycled, meaning New Zealand will no longer be able to send some grades of waste plastics there anymore.

China has been recycling for decades and some residents have made their living from breaking up the plastics, the BBC reports.

However, with China accepting all of the plastic waste, the country has become much dirtier by homemade pollution.

The Chinese Government has said some international waste is toxic.

The ban presents a problem for China though, because it still needs the cardboard, the paper and the high-end polystyrene.

Some polystyrene gets recycled and eventually turned into skirting boards and picture frames, and is sold back to the countries that some of the polystyrene originally came from.

China's ban means small business who sell these items could be in trouble.

"Just to keep the factory running, we need about 50,000 tonnes of recycled plastics," said one small business owner.

"When you only recycle China, it's not enough."