As China’s import restrictions get in to full swing where will all the unwanted material go?
Following China’s decision in the summer to stop importing unsorted plastic and paper waste, finding a home for this type of material will become more and more challenging in 2018, with the quality debate rearing its head once again amongst Waste Management companies.
China has traditionally been a large volume buyer of low-quality mixed paper and plastic materials from around the World but has decided that it will no longer be the bottomless pit for the World’s junk due to the amount of unsorted waste, mixed in with recycled materials.
Consequently, waste commodity prices have already started to fall, a trend that is only likely to continue throughout 2018 with China taking a hard stance.
Despite this, the global demand for high-quality recycled materials still remains crucial for our future and this is unlikely to change moving forward, given the shortage of natural resources that the world demands. But it all comes downs to the quality of the material we are suppling.
There is an abundance of high quality recyclable materials in the market but more often than not, such commodities are failing to deliver their true value potential due to contamination and quality issues.
It seems we have two options. Continue as is, and accept lower returns for low grade material in hope that there is a miracle during 2018, or alternatively, face up to the facts as an industry and look to educate our clients in the future on how to produce a better-quality product through investment in the appropriate waste management channels, on-site recycling equipment and training of staff.
Finding new markets for this material will be tough for Waste Management companies in 2018. Some companies are rushing to recruit experienced staff from the market and upgrade equipment to meet the new Chinese protocols but there are more cost-effective ways to approach these waste dilemmas.
Plastic Waste Market in 2018
As a business, Mick George Ltd are investing time and money helping to educate our customers on the best way forward to ensure we can process and sell their plastic waste materials in the UK market at the highest price. We view trading in the UK as the best option and this will be our approach going forward in 2018. There will always be a need for export and it can provide an essential outlet, but we must be aware of the restrictions and challenges of trading in a Global Market.
Wash plants, pyrolysis and even filling in potholes. There is so much that can be done with low grade plastic waste material but the level of investment required to upgrade equipment and retrain staff is usually the downside for many waste producers. Larger companies have the financial capabilities to invest in innovation and new ideas, and can look for more sustainable solutions for the recycled materials but not all waste producers have these resources available. Our advice for your plastic waste material in 2018 is: keep it clean, keep it as instructed, and it will sell!
Paper Waste Market in 2018
If clean, mixed-paper waste can be supplied in to Europe and also the UK, and this is likely to continue for 2018 along with the higher-grade fibre. The OCC market in to China will come under pressure in Q1, 2018 due to Chinese New Year and also limited shipping days in February. However, there is still good demand for the clean material.
We are working with our customers and helping them understand what the challenges are and a solution to some of their difficult waste paper material issues. Keep it clean, is the message to all our clients and recycling centres in 2018 and if you are not sure, then don’t include it. Like plastic waste, if it’s clean, it will sell in 2018.