Indonesian ruling on scrap imports underscores value of recycling

In what amounts to a major win for manufacturers, recyclers, and those purchasing goods with recycled content, the Indonesian government has confirmed the use of a two percent contamination rate for scrap commodity imports.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) applauded the joint decree by the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Environment & Forestry, the Ministry of Industry and the government’s Head of State Policy.

“This policy allows for Indonesia’s vibrant paper manufacturing sector and others that rely on environmentally-friendly manufacturing inputs to fulfill their requirements for specification-grade commodities,” said Adina Renee Adler, vice president of advocacy for ISRI. “Many commodity grades are not available domestically and manufacturers must rely on the global supply to produce goods. This reaffirms the essential value of scrap commodities to the manufacturing supply chain and rejects the approach taken in China and elsewhere to treat these commodities the same as solid waste.”

The decree announced on May 27, includes the following provisions:

  • Contamination tolerance of two percent for scrap commodity imports.
  • Creation of an interagency task force that, within six months, will develop a “road map” geared toward greater self-sufficiency through increased domestic supplies while also reducing imports through a quota system and tighter contamination thresholds.

The announcement comes after more than a year of direct advocacy by ISRI with the government, including several visits to Jakarta and letters to policymakers, during a time when the government never clearly stated the import policy but was mandating an unachievable zero-tolerance requirement.


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