China Recycling Market Updates:  Policy Execution – Industry in Doldrums Part 2

China Recycling Market Updates:  Policy Execution – Industry in Doldrums Part 2


The policy execution on the part of imported plastic waste recycling is now followed by a round of intense inspection on 1792 licensed recycling factory importers has been scheduled to complete in July . An inspection group of 1700 fully trained members divided into 60 teams is to complete inspection on 600 licensed factories by 14th July and the remaining by end of the month.

Strict compliance checks on the scope of environmental impact controls according to the laws and “environmental impact assessment report” of each individual factory as well as production management processes according to good standard practice are being carried out by the inspectors. It was learnt that the inspection is of a polluting origin approach and relevant controls targeting both aspects of water and air pollution. Each aspect violation or pollutant emission not being licensed is subject to penalty. Similarly, additional machines found not to be on the list permitted under “environmental impact assessment report” are penalized too.

With the audit on the use of import permits being part of the inspection mandate, the scope of audit may also cover prior years as the case may be.

It is believed that a large number of such factories will not be able to pass the inspection this time as most of them do not achieve a the very strict compliance and control on production pollution. Rather they follow what has become the prevailing industry normal. The exception being a few newer high-profile factories. Also, additional machinery and equipment deployed for improving production efficiency whenever necessary is quite common but most of the factories do not have the additional machines added to the approvals given the tedious process of EIA.

If the targeted curtailment of 60% import permits is not a rumor, this may perhaps be a benchmark for the chance of factories to pass the inspection in this round. Those factories which are allowed to rectify the non-compliance issues and continue operation are fortunate enough but whether to close down by end of year 2018 if a complete import ban really comes is yet to be seen.

While the policy approach is to reduce solid waste imports by stage and by category, restrictions on importing household waste, agricultural films and e-scraps have commenced already in the last two months. If this round of inspection can be completed within the timeframe of one month, it is considered a good approach as it can at least keep the market impact at a minimum.

By Dr. Steve Wong
Executive President, CSPA
Chairman, Fukutomi Company Limited
Committee Member, Plastics Committee of BIR
Committee Member, WEEE Committee of BIR

10 July 2017

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