China getting tough on contamination

Kerri Jansen
WASTE & RECYCLING NEWS

Published: May 6, 2013 1:32 pm ET
Updated: May 6, 2013 1:39 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Recycling, China

ORLANDO, FLA. — Heightened inspection procedures at China's ports are causing delays and confusion for scrap exporters.

Talk of China's so-called "Operation Green Fence" could be heard around presentation rooms, exhibitor booths and lunch tables at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc.'s annual Convention & Exposition in Orlando earlier this month. Exporters of paper, plastic and metal scrap reported expensive delays in their shipments to China, and more shipments turned away in customs.

The new measures, initiated by China's new president, Xi Jinping, are intended to curb the amount of solid waste contamination the country imports. It involves stricter enforcement of quality requirements for imported recovered materials, but no new legislation.

"Many customs officers were not doing their work properly and some hazardous waste and rubbish materials had been recently found in containers at some ports," Francis Veys, director general of the Bureau of International Recycling, wrote in an email to Waste & Recycling News. "The customs authorities are opening more containers and if they find any materials which do not meet the Chinese quality requirements they return the whole lot to the suppliers."

Peter Wang, CEO of America Chung Nam, the primary recovered paper supplier to Nine Dragons Paper in China, warned of tougher import restrictions during a presentation at the Residential Recycling Conference held in March in Chicago.

"If China customs found a syringe, even if it's just one, in a bale of plastic, it's considered medical waste and the whole shipment would get rejected," he said. "And in paper, if they see too much plastic in the paper, also that could actually trigger a rejection in customs as well. And the cargo would pretty much have to go back to the origin point."

The pertinent legislation was introduced in 2006 and confirmed in 2010. China's government mandates that at least 3 percent of containers be inspected, but customs agents may open "up to 100 percent if they feel there is any problem with the shipment," Wang said.

Initiatives to improve communication between ports and centralize information are also planned.

The Bureau of International Recycling reported several exporters from the U.S. and worldwide had suspended shipments to China in light of customs tie-ups.

Scrap exporters and industry groups alike are scrambling to learn what impact the new procedures will have on business. Some reports indicate the crackdown will end in November; others speculate the initiative could be the beginning of progressively tighter controls on China's imports.

The matter is complicated by the opportunity for what one industry expert called "subjective decisions" by customs officials.

Russ DeLozier, director of sustainability for J&J Industries, suggested the rules might be a ploy to get better prices for scrap materials.

"When I see some of these green regulations, my skepticism comes out to say, how much is gamesmanship?" he said. "Every single time, in times I've traded with [Chinese importers] and I've seen them pull out regulations, I've ultimately seen my prices go down ... and I'm certain, after my eyes have seen what had happened, that they'd paid off officials. I'm certain of that."

DeLozier emphasized the value of actually visiting China to better understand business practices there.

"China's different, and if we think that when we're trading with China, we're trading with a company that's similar in values to ours, we're totally coming to the table blindfolded," he said.

U.S. scrap exporters should ensure shipments bound for China are totally clean and make themselves available to inspectors before loads are delivered, but still expect delays, Xavier Cronin of PetroChem Wire said during a presentation at the ISRI Convention & Exposition.

"From what we're hearing about the inspections, loads being turned back, you are going to see less material getting to China, at least for now," Cronin said.


Comments

China getting tough on contamination

Kerri Jansen
WASTE & RECYCLING NEWS

Published: May 6, 2013 1:32 pm ET
Updated: May 6, 2013 1:39 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

China's Shide Group, BASF unveil 'revolutionary' all-plastic window profile

April 23, 2014 9:10 pm ET

SHANGHAI — The PVC window profile market in Asia is expected to increase four-fold by 2025, and Chinese building products maker Dalian Shide...    More

Image

CPM Extrusion, ECON launch new line of underwater pelletizers

April 23, 2014 11:25 am ET

CPM Extrusion Group and ECON GmbH unveiled their brand new EUPC line of underwater pelletizers today at ChinaPlas held in Shanghai, China.    More

Sale of Romanian PVC producer Oltchim assets postponed again

April 23, 2014 1:35 pm ET

The long anticipated privatization of insolvent Romanian PVC producer Oltchim has been postponed yet again, this time until mid-May.    More

Image

China's mold making sector plodding forward

April 23, 2014 1:25 pm ET

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching new highs, China's similar indexes are still hovering at a low level. What does the economic barometer ...    More

New PolyOne Shanghai center to focus on speed-to-market in Asia

April 23, 2014 11:07 am ET

PolyOne Corp. is expanding its operations in China with a new “Innovation Center” in Shanghai. The center will focus on research and devel...    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