CHINA - According to recently released data issued by China’s General Administration of Customs Authority, imports of plastic waste for the first seven months of 2012 (January-July) cost the country in excess of US$3.47 billion.
The scrap plastic volume totalled 4,780,000 tons, a slight year-on-year increase of 0.1%, while per ton the import cost was 0.9% higher than for the same period in 2011 by reflecting a higher average import price per ton of US$725.50.
The US was the largest contributor with 24% of the world’s recovered plastics shipments to China, followed by Japan with 19%, Germany with 15%, the UK with 9% and Belgium with 4%
This new data contradicts news reports on the downward impact of new regulations tightening the import of solid waste on the demand for scrap plastic in China, which suggested that the regulations had driven imports down by 80% in September and October of 2111, as local customs officials tightened enforcement.
Announced in April 2011 and effective from last August, the ‘Regulation on Managing Import of Solid Waste’ bans the dumping of solid waste for treatment in China from overseas, and outlaws the transport and transhipment of hazardous solid waste through China.
Under these rules, the shipping of solid waste refers to the import of waste into mainland China including shipments from Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan – routes commonly used by exporters as a back-door to circumvent the 2008 customs regulations.
According to the regulations, ‘solid waste’ is divided into three categories: Import-forbidden solid waste; import-restricted solid waste – for which specific licences are required; and automatic-licensing import solid waste pre-approved materials.