Chinese recyclers respond to proposed regulations

By Nina Ying Sun
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: September 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Public Policy, Suppliers, Sustainability, Recycling

BEIJING (Sept. 26, 1:20 p.m. ET) — Face-to-face with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, the country’s plastics recyclers talked about current industry conditions and shared their take on the ministry’s initial draft of new and stricter regulations on the import of waste plastics.

The recently founded China Scrap Plastics Association Co. Ltd. organized the Beijing meeting where more than 40 recycling industry representatives congregated to voice their views.

Nearly 1,600 companies nationwide import and reprocess waste plastics, according to Zheng Yang, an official from the ministry’s Solid Waste Management Center.

CSPA pegs total imports of waste plastics at about 17.6 billion pounds annually.

The new “Imported Waste Plastics Environmental Protection Regulation” would set a market-entry barrier requiring reprocessing sites to be — at least — 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet) with annual capacity for 5,000 metric tons (11 million pounds), Zheng said. The draft regulation also divides those 1,600 or so companies into four categories and raises certain requirements for each category.

CSPA Secretary General Jason Wang pointed out six major issues facing China’s plastics recycling industry: pollution and negative public perception, the reselling of import licenses, the trading of imported waste plastics, “industry turmoil and survival,” high compliance costs and low penalties for illegal activities, and the lack of a large-scale and high-technology model.

One industry representative brought up problems at the local level regarding regulations enforcement. Chen Zuhan, chairman of recycler Guangdong Haifeng Xinzhou Plastic Products Co. Ltd., said customs officials in the city of Shantou have not approved any imports of waste plastics this year.

“We already had the green light from the [ministry], but didn’t expect to encounter issues at the customs,” he said. He added that his company even had the local county government send an official letter to customs, requesting the processing of imported materials.

“But nothing worked,” said Chen, who is also a vice president of CSPA.

Wang Weiping, general manager of Shanghai Dongjin Plastic Fiber Product Co. Ltd., added that customs officials tend to give high duty appraisals to imported materials. “Companies have to take non-standard means to balance the duties with other taxes, which is not conducive for the company’s normal growth,” said Wang, a CSPA supervisor.

On the topic of moving recyclers into industrial parks for better management, Wang said it should be case by case. The model might work in Guangdong, he said, but not in Shanghai. There are a total of 25 companies in Shanghai involved in importing waste plastics, he noted: “It’s impossible to find a new campus and move these companies there.”

An official from the China Resource Recycling Association also sees major hurdles to the “campus management” model, which is encouraged in another new regulation. Vice Secretary General Tang Aijun cited the high operating costs of scrap-metal industrial recycling parks in Zhenhai and Zhaoqing, for example. Due to the scarcity and high cost of land, it makes little economic sense for localities to allocate land for such purposes, she said.

In Guangdong province, however, recycling parks are recommended to help small recyclers integrate into large operations.

Chen Jiangqiang, president of the Regenerative Resources Association in Guangdong, said the province reprocesses more than half of the waste plastics China imports. More than 70 percent of recycled granulate producers are located there.

“It’s easier to regulate companies of all sizes in the same campus, and the provincial government asks these parks to centralize logistics and warehousing. A micro-sized recycler could become a unit of a bigger operation that’s managed by the park,” Chen said. He is also chairman of Guangdong Tianbao Renewable Resources Development Co. Ltd.

China’s plastics recycling sector also needs technological upgrades to facilitate its growth, said Chen Qiang from the Shandong International Recycling Committee. He said regulations need to be updated constantly as technology advances. As an example, he mentioned bottle-to-bottle technology that is used in North America and Europe.

“This technology is the highest level of plastics recycling. This approach is not only legal, but should also enjoy a series of preferential policies of the government,” he said.


Comments

Chinese recyclers respond to proposed regulations

By Nina Ying Sun
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: September 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Chicago City Council committee approves plastic bag ban

April 24, 2014 7:11 pm ET

Chicago is poised to become the next major U.S. city to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags after a City Council committee vote on April 24.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Simpsons go Lego, Pharrell Williams gets into recycled plastic

April 24, 2014 8:45 am ET

Lego has teamed up with "The Simpsons" for a special episode, we see the trends at the International Home + Housewares Show and musician Pharrell...    More

Image

PolyOne says new Shanghai center will ease collaboration across segments

April 24, 2014 2:34 pm ET

PolyOne Specialty Engineered Materials is opening an innovation Center in Shanghai's Jinqiao development zone that will serve as its new Asia Pacific ...    More

Interactive map aids polypropylene recycling efforts

April 24, 2014 1:34 pm ET

Folks interested in recycling polypropylene products now have a new tool at their disposal.    More

Biopolymer firms report success with PHA pilot production

April 24, 2014 1:30 pm ET

Biopolymer developer Meridian Inc. and Tate & Lyle plc have reported successful pilot production of Meridian's process to make polyhydroxyalkanoate, a...    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

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

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events