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The Big Story

China finally gets serious about cleaning up

World's biggest polluter turns would-be environmental protector with green tech investments

DOMINIC FAULDER, Associate editor, Nikkei Asian Review | China

BANGKOK/NAIROBI -- Business is booming for Max Craipeau. The Hong Kong-based entrepreneur has seen his company transform over the past 18 months: His number of employees has increased sixfold, and he expects his 2019 revenue to "easily double" from last year. His good fortune is largely thanks to China's decision in January 2018 to ban the import of most types of solid waste for recycling.

China's disruptive move led Craipeau, founder and CEO of Maxco Industries, to shift from trading rubber and metal scrap to running plastic-waste recycling plants in Indonesia and Poland -- with one more on the way, possibly in Japan. China's ban, according to the France-born Craipeau, created "a new order" in the global plastic-waste business and was a "huge opportunity" for him.

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