3 September 2019 by Steve Eminton

Mission heads to Indonesia for paper recycling export talks

EXCLUSIVE: An urgent recycling mission to try and ensure that recovered paper is allowed into Indonesia for papermaking has got underway.

The mission, led by Simon Ellin of the UK’s Recycling Association and Robin Wiener, president of the United States Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) will assemble in Jakarta tomorrow (4 September) for a series of meetings.

Industry representatives are travelling to Jakarta to address concerns over import standards for recovered paper

On the agenda are meetings with diplomats at both the US and British embassies and crucially with the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Talks will centre on concerns that port inspections of recovered (waste) paper – ranging from high quality used cardboard to other grades – are leading to the rejection of the material which conforms with a 0.5% contamination limit, similar to that imposed by China.

The Indonesian market has become essential for the UK because of the restrictions on export to China and disruption of exports to the Republic is causing alarm among exporters who feel that material is being incorrectly rejected.


Inspection work for the Indonesian Ministry is contracted to Polish inspection business Baltic Control. It was officially appointed by the Indonesian KSO SCISI (KSO Sucofindo-Surveyor Indonesia) for the Environment Ministry from July 2012.

Exporters of recovered paper claim that the inspectors do not have sufficient equipment to carry out proper inspections, such as for moisture content, and are also rejecting loads when there is some plastic in the paper but within the 0.5% limit.

A spokeswoman for Baltic Control told letsrecycle.com that the inspections met the requirements of KSO for the Indonesian Ministry but confirmed that moisture testing equipment was not used.

Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association, told letsrecycle.com that he was hopeful of getting a clear understanding of what is required to ensure that material can be imported into Indonesia. “There has been a lot of toing and froing over what international standards are to be met, from 10% to 0.5% to zero and back to 0.5% over a six month period.”

“We are not sure that the inspectors always know to what standard they are inspecting to. We appear to have some random failures and failing inspections costs a lot of money.”

Simon Ellin, Recycling Association

Mr Ellin continued: “We are not sure that the inspectors always know to what standard they are inspecting to. We appear to have some random failures and failing inspections costs a lot of money.”

And, he questioned whether correct assessment of moisture content could be carried out without equipment being used.

Mr Ellin added that he was hopeful that the talks in Indonesia would lead to a better understanding of the situation by all parties and that a way forward would be found. “We know that the Indonesian mills want good quality material as they can only meet 40% of their own requirements from domestic sources. We want to work with them and they are getting good quality material.”

Related links
Indonesia Ministry of Environment and Forestry
Recycling Association
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries


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