China to WTO: Scrap plastic imports banned by year-end

China told WTO on July 18 that it will ban imports of scrap plastics and other “foreign garbage”. According to the filing, the proposed date the ban will enter force is September 2017.

The ban would restrict US exports of waste paper; waste from the manufacture of iron or steel; ash and residues containing arsenic, metals, or their compounds; plastic waste; wool and animal hair waste; garnetted stock of wool or animal hair; cotton waste; man-made fiber waste; and used and worn out twine, rope, cables, and cordage.
That includes 1.42 million tons of scrap plastics, worth an estimated $495 million, out of $5.6 billion in scrap commodities exported from the United States to China last year. Last year, the country imported 7.3 million metric tons of waste plastic, valued at $3.7 billion and accounting for 56 percent of world imports, according to Reuters.

Of the banned commodities, wastepaper made up 88.2%, or 1.2 million TEUs exported in 2016, with plastic parings and scraps making up 11.2%, or 155,967 TEU. India is the second-largest market (7.9%), South Korea (4.4%), Indonesia (2.1%), and Taiwan (1.3%) round out the top 5, according to The Port Import/Export Reporting Service (PIERS).

A Chinese plastics recycling group said that a month-long crackdown on plastics recyclers that began July 1 had resulted in inspecting 888 factories by July 14. That’s about half of the 1,792 factories licensed to import waste plastics.

(American Shipper/JOC/Plastics News)