(IPP Policy Brief n°64) From Guangzhou to Naples: French exports of plastic waste
April 2021 - Julien Martin, Isabelle Mejean, Ines Picard, Benoît Schmutz
The Institut des politiques publiques (PSE/GENES) publishes a new Policy Brief (n°64) on the possible impact – using the lessons from a 2017 Chinese experiment – of new European regulations that will drastically reduce European exports of plastic waste.
In this note, the authors use China’s ban of plastic waste imports in 2017 as a natural experiment of a sudden drop in the world demand for plastic waste. They study how French exporters have adjusted, both in terms of quantities exported, destinations, and prices. After the ban, exports to other Asian countries increased sharply, but this redirection appears to be short-lived, unlike redirection towards other EU countries. In addition, there is suggestive evidence of a polarization of the quality of plastic waste exports between destinations. In light of their findings, the authors discuss the possible impact of new European regulations that will drastically reduce European exports of plastic waste.