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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s already soaring plastic demand may rise even further as the government plans to ban waste-plastic imports by the end of this year, which will curb domestic plastic recycling.

The expected increase in plastic demand highlights the consequences of China’s pollution fight and its efforts to modernize its industry. As part of this drive, the world’s top importer of rubbish said in July that it would stop importing garbage by the end of this year.

To make up for the loss of recycled plastic, petrochemical producers and exporters to China from the Middle East, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore are expected to receive more orders for products including polyethylene, a thermoplastic found in almost everything from grocery bags to bubble wraps, pipes, medical devices and even bulletproof vests.

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