China continues to rein in plastic recycling with new policies

By Nina Ying Sun
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: September 5, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Public Policy, Suppliers, Sustainability, Packaging, Recycling

BEIJING (Sept. 5, 10:45 a.m. ET) — For years, China has shown an insatiable appetite of waste plastic imports. With low-cost labor sorting and lax regulatory controls, the recycling business thrived.

But the government has been taking actions to rein in the industry, first by imposing policies last year to tighten up the control of import and trade of scrap materials, and now, by enacting a new regulation that bans improper recycling practices that may pollute the environment.

According to the announcement jointly made by the country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce, the new rules will take effect Oct. 1 and ban irresponsible handling of scrap materials, including:

• Recycling activities in residential areas;

• Using recycled plastic to make ultrathin bags (shopping bags less than 0.025mm thick and other bags less than 0.015mm in thickness) that have been banned since 2007;

• Using recycled plastic to make food-contact bags;

• Handling of hazardous waste (with chemical residues, pesticide or disposable medical packaging) without special operating license;

• Processing activities without sufficient water treatment facilities, such as granulation of woven bags, washing of plated scrap, stripping of plating or coating, etc.;

• Improper handling of waste from the recycling process;

• Outdoor incineration of plastic scrap and waste from the recycling process.

The new regulation applies to the recycling of plastic scrap collected within China as well as imports. Specifically for imported waste, the industry is ordered to comply with all related policies and prohibited from these activities:

• Importing unwashed, post-consumer scrap;

• Transferring imported waste to a company other than what is allowed by the import license, including sending the materials to vendors for washing services;

• Selling unwashed leftover plastic materials after sorting and processing imported plastic scrap;

• Selling unwashed leftover plastic materials after sorting and processing imported scrap paper.

The policy asks recycling companies to report to government agencies plastic waste that is banned or violates environmental protection rules. It also encourages regions with concentrated plastic scrap distribution and processing businesses to establish treatment facilities for post-recycling waste water, gas emissions, and solid waste.

The central government asks provincial-level environmental protection and commerce administration agencies to inspect local recyclers and publish the list of qualified recyclers as well as companies that fail the inspection and follow-up actions.

Starting Jan. 1, only companies that have passed the inspection will be allowed to import waste plastics.


Comments

China continues to rein in plastic recycling with new policies

By Nina Ying Sun
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: September 5, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

US plastics machinery market still gaining strength in second quarter

September 15, 2014 5:01 pm ET

U.S. plastics machinery shipments in the second quarter continued to outperform activity in 2013, according to data from Society of the Plastics...    More

Image

Here's a peek behind our 2014 film & sheet ranking

September 15, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Today Plastics News publishes its annual ranking of North American Film and Sheet Manufacturers. Let's look at some interesting numbers behind the...    More

Image

Sabic, Chinese Academy of Sciences sign five-year development agreement

September 15, 2014 11:54 am ET

Ties between one of the world's biggest oil producers and one of its biggest consumers grew tighter Sept. 12 with the announcement of a five-year...    More

Image

BASF analyzes products based on sustainability potential

September 15, 2014 11:48 am ET

Chemicals giant BASF SE has created a new process for managing its product portfolio based on sustainability criteria.    More

Hungarian recycler launches new unit

September 15, 2014 10:59 am ET

Hungarian plastics recycler Polyter-Mix kft has launched a new 1,400-square-meter production hall at a site in Körösladány in southeastern Hungary.    More

Market Reports

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events