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Operation Green Fence

China's first major campaign to enforce its stringent waste quality legislation and to protect its environment by making economy cleaner and more efficient after three decades of breakneck growth that fouled rivers and left China's cities choking on smog. Announced in February 2013, Operation Green Fence sent shock waves through the global recycling market as China stopped to accept poorly sorted or dirty shipments of recyclable waste from foreign exporters.

China's recycling industry boomed between 1990 through 2012 as its manufacturers needed the metal, paper and plastic and the government was willing to tolerate the environmental cost. Millions of tons of discarded plastic, computers, electronics, newspapers and shredded automobiles and appliances were imported every year from the United States, Europe and Japan. However, environmentalists have long complained the industry is poisoning China's air, water and soil.

Green Fence has increased the cost of doing business in the recycling industry as demands for waste materials dropped and export took long with more inspections. However, Green Fence also offered opportunities for recyclers that invest in cleaner technology as dirtier competitors are forced out of the market. The crackdown also created new opportunities to process material in the United States and Europe instead of shipping it around the globe.

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