Recovered paper: New Chinese environmental standards to test scrap paper market in 2018
(Brussels, Belgium, November 2017) On 15 November 2017, China officially notified WTO of its intent to adopt a number of Environmental Protection Control standards for imported solid wastes as raw materials. The following percentages were communicated as the applicable thresholds for impurities: smelt slag 0.5%, wood 0.5%, paper 0.5%, ferrous 0.5%, non-ferrous 1%, waste electric motors 0.5%, wires and cables 0.5%, metal and appliance scrap 0.5%, vessels 0.05%, plastic 0.5%, autos 0.3%. The Chinese WTO notifications proposed the date of adoption as 31 December 2017 and the entry into force on 1 March 2018.
While in most cases (paper, ferrous, non-ferrous, plastics) the thresholds are not as low as initially feared (0.3%), the proposed percentages are still far from the figures that the industry considers feasible and acceptable. This have ‘a serious impact on global trade in recyclables, both in terms of price and volumes’, as per the latest ‘World Mirror on Recovered Paper’ from the BIR world recycling organisation.
The recovered paper industry is also concerned about the [predicted] reduction in Chinese mills’ import allocations for the coming year by 25%. This could result in 2018 being ‘a very trying and testing year for fibre exporters to China’.
In fact, a number of recovered paper exporters are exploring alternative markets like Turkey and countries in South East Asia. Of late, for example, Turkey is understood to have been importing on average 70,000 tonnes of recovered fibre per month. (Source: BIR / Recycling International)