BIR warns of the devastating effect of Chinese ban on Global Recycling Industry

BIR expresses serious concerns over news on China's intention to implement an import ban on a number of scrap materials, including certain types of scrap plastics, mixed paper, slags and drosses, waste wool, ash, cotton and yarn.
Dieter Schütz,
Dieter Schütz,

Yesterday 18 July, China has notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it will stop accepting certain imports of wastes by the end of 2017, as part of its National Sword campaign. In this respect, BIR can only regret the short time frame allowed to stakeholders for submitting comments. It will nevertheless present a submission to WTO.

BIR Director General Arnaud Brunet states: “Whilst BIR and its Members support and promote high quality standards for scrap exports, this ban, if implemented, will have a serious impact on the global recycling industry which has, in the last 25 years, supported China in its economic development and growth and met its manufacturing needs for secondary raw materials. International scrap trade flows to China amount to tens of billions US Dollars worth of goods which are needed by the domestic Chinese industry for production.”

According to BIR last year, China imported 7.3 million tons of plastic scrap, worth billions of USD, mainly coming from Europe, Japan and USA. The same are also the main sources of scrap paper going to China each year. Regarding recovered paper, China imported 27 million tons, from all supplying regions of the world and many BIR Members, of which 25 to 30% were mixed paper. A ban may result on a large amount of those mixed paper scrap to end up out of the circular economy stream.

BIR intends to demonstrate, by engaging with the stakeholders, and the Chinese Government first, the devastating impact that such a ban would have on the global recycling industry, and beyond the Chinese and global economy, as well as the environment.


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