China has banned imports of 24 types of waste as part of a new initiative to improve its industries and environment.
The Asian nation will now longer accept shipments of rubbish from around the world, including various plastics and unsorted papers from Britain.
Before the ban came into effect, the UK has been shipping up to 500,000 tonnes of plastic for recycling in China every year, which was recycled and reused for manufacturing.
The UK’s recycling industry says now this trade has ended, the country cannot deal with all its waste.
Experts have suggested despite other countries being likely to take some of the plastic, the imports ban would lead to the stockpiling of waste and a move towards increased incineration and landfill.
Simon Ellin, Chief Executive of the UK Recycling Association, said: “You can already see the impact if you walk round some of our members’ yards.
“Plastic is building up and if you were to go around those yards in a couple of months’ time the situation would be even worse.”