24 April 2018 by Joshua Doherty

BIR concern over Chinese scrap measures

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has given its interpretation of last week’s announcement by the Chinese government about the extension of import restrictions of solid wastes.

In a statement, the BIR said that together with the prohibitions that entered into force at the end of 2017, the latest restrictions would mean that all plastic waste and scrap, both industrial arisings and post-consumer scrap, will be prohibited to export to China by December 2018.

Chinese waste import restrictions

The BIR said the latest restrictions would mean that all plastic waste and scrap will be prohibited to export to China (pictured: shutterstock)

Two waves

Last week’s announcement from the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment  confirmed that the restrictions will come in two waves.  Firstly by 31 December 2018, solid waste from waste hardware, waste ships, pressed parts from waste autos and waste plastics from industrial sources are among those that will be restricted.

The types of material listed as being banned in 2018 include waste, parings and scrap of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), as well as PET beverage bottles.

On the same date a year later, 16 further types of material will be banned from being imported, including stainless steel scraps and wood waste. This includes waste cork, scraps of stainless steel and magnesium waste and scrap.

Great pressure

The BIR said in its statement that the further restrictions will put “great pressure” on the scrap processing capacity on the global industry.

The statement said: “BIR notes that China is the world’s largest importer of recyclable materials, and that after the 1st January 2018 ban on 24 waste and scrap items, these additional 32 import prohibitions, together with the very high quality thresholds in the Chinese scrap standards, will put great pressure on the scrap processing capacity of the global recycling industry outside China.”

BIR members will be discussing these issues in detail during the upcoming World Recycling Convention in Barcelona (28-30 May 2018) and more specifically at the International Trade Council meeting on Tuesday 29 May at 16.15 hrs.

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