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

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

Bioplastic created using rice starch

July 31, 2014 10:40 am ET

The new transparent, biodegradable material has a high degree of mechanical strength and good thermal resistance.    More

Image

UMass Lowell hosts collaborative research meeting for future projects

July 30, 2014 11:54 am ET

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell recently hosted a seminar, which was billed as a collaborative research meeting between Dow Chemical Co.,...    More

Image

North American robot sales set record

July 30, 2014 4:46 pm ET

The North American robotics sector is off to its fastest start ever, shattering last year's first-half record, with a first-half 2014 of 14,135...    More

Image

DC banning PS foam containers

July 30, 2014 2:34 pm ET

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gra signed into law on July 29 a bill that will ban polystyrene foam food and drink containers from the District.    More

Image

Pressure is on to replace aging gas pipes

July 30, 2014 2:47 pm ET

Polyethylene is the plastic replacement material of choice for modernizing the natural gas distribution system — so much so some are concerned a...    More

Market Reports

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

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

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

More Events