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China closes its borders to the world's trash

A woman sits with her baby in a sea of plastic bottles
A woman sits with her baby in a sea of plastic in Laizhou, China, where she works on ripping the labels off the bottles. Photo: Peter Ford/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

The world is reeling as China — which once imported 9 million metric tons of foreign plastic waste per year — implements new regulations that ban 24 different types of garbage from its shores, reports CNBC.

Why it matters: The measure, implemented in January, is forcing the United States, the U.K., Japan and the EU to find a new destination for their trash. Chinese customs data for the first quarter of 2018 showed that the country's solid waste imports dropped 54%.

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