The impact of China’s Operation Green Fence can been clearly seen in the statistics on extra-EU exports of waste plastics. According to the most recently published figures from the EU statistics office Eurostat, the members of the EU 27 shipped around 16 per cent less waste plastic to mainland China than they had in the first six months of 2012 at 769,000 tonnes. Exports to the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong plunged by as much as 26 per cent to 370,000 tonnes.
The decrease was so large that a modest rise in waste plastic exports from the EU to other countries was not enough to make up the difference. According to Eurostat, shipments from the EU 27 states to countries outside the European Union (extra-EU trade) in the first half of 2013 stood at 1.40 million tonnes of “waste, parings and scrap of plastics” with a total value of €465m. That was 241,00 tonnes or 14.7 per cent less than in the prior-year period (H1 2012: 1.65 million tonnes, €530m)