Plastic recycling in China supported by IFC investment

China's environmental credentials were given a small boost this week as the International Finance Corporation invested US$1.2 million in a plastics recycling facility in Guangzhou.

China is rapidly becoming a leading consumer of durable goods, electronic equipment and automobiles. It is the second-largest and most rapidly growing user of plastics in the world. However, it has to import over half of the plastics it needs.

The new plant, developed by MBA polymers, a California based company, uses the first technology that can recycle, on a commercial production scale, highly mixed waste streams of high value plastics, such as those common to discarded consumer durable goods and electronics.

Raw material gets converted for reuse into high-value engineering plastics while at the same time providing an environmentally attractive processing channel for a recyclable resource that would otherwise be destined for landfills or incineration.

"Choosing China for its first plastic recycling plant outside the US was a strategic part of MBA's international expansion," said Karin Finkelston, IFC's associate director for China. "The company's efforts will help create more sustainable manufacturing activities for all connected industries which, without MBA's technology, would end up producing waste streams that contaminate groundwater and pollute the air."

The investment was made available through the Environmental Opportunities Facility. This was established in 2002 to provide flexible financing to innovative ventures that have a strong potential to increase environmental sustainability and is part of IFC's Sustainable Business Assistance Programme.

By David Hopkins



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