Everyone remembers The Green Fence – China pushed back on importing just about everything due to contamination problems and did not want to be the world’s dump for recycling leftovers. They feel this trend is back and have now initiated what is called National Sword (do not ask me how they came up with that name – probably makes more sense in Chinese and we lose something in the translation).
This is going to affect paper and plastic. Many large MRF’s are unable to produce the less contaminated paper that China is now demanding. This will create problems domestically – we don’t have the markets or infrastructure in this country to handle all that we are collecting.
Plastics will have the highest impact since exports never fully recovered from the Green Fence. Cleaner material can still go through but there are plenty of domestic markets for clean material.
There are concerns that the Chinese may institute a flat-out ban on imports of recovered materials. And the Chinese are encouraging domestic manufacturers to recycle their scrap materials reducing demand for imports.
“I’m really, really concerned about the impact this is going to have on recycling in [the U.S.], because we’ve gotten so used to being able to move that material to export,” said Patty Moore, a longtime recycling expert and president of Sustainable Materials Management of California.
Exporters are also looking to market diversification in other Southeastern Asian countries. This won’t happen immediately and in the short term there could be some pricing and movement problems in certain markets.
For the full story as reported in Resource Recycling click on this link