China Recycling Market Updates:  Policy Execution – Industry in Doldrums

China Recycling Market Updates:  Policy Execution – Industry in Doldrums


To fully implement the program of “Prohibition on import of “selected” solid waste in promotion of reform on solid waste imports management” which was approved in the Central Task Force meeting presided by President Xi Jinping on 18 April, China is putting into execution the corrective actions on all polluting industries, particularly recycling of solid and plastic waste targeting on the operations with imported solid waste. Being target oriented, all factories holding import licenses for plastic waste recycling have to go through a round of intense inspections by a high caliber inspection team of 1700 well-trained inspectors teamed up from various parts of China. Expected to be completed within the month of July, the inspection teams will work in full force and according to timelines aimed at import permit reductions which could be up to 60% according to market rumors.

While the recycling factories will be checked according to the standard parameters on:

  1. Compliance check of pollution control and management; and
  2. Audit on use of import permits to detect illegal use;

The inspection task will also detect if there are malfeasance on the local government departments.

It is expected that a number of recycling factories will hardly be able to meet the strict standards and may face the problems of import permit curtailments or even being entirely rescinded. Some factories chose to slow down their production in order to avoid excessive pollutants being discharged and failure in inspection while others could not maintain a smooth production due to removal of excessive machines not on the list of “environment impacts assessment report”. Some factories have to suspend production until the import of plastic scraps has resumed after new import permits are released.

To echo the solid waste import management policy implementation, the AQSIQ is also tightening the quality controls on plastic waste imports. Importers identified to have polluting waste imported will be down-graded and the importer and relevant overseas supplier will be subject to 100% goods checking at the customs for a period of 90 days. The period of 100% goods checking will last for 180 days on second time violation. AQSIQ registration can be revoked if further violation is found during the second stage of 180 days control.

With the industry in doldrums and with trading activities slowed down, the supply and demand have been upset.


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

7 July 2017

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