Imports and consumption of plastic scrap by China’s manufacturers dropped significantly during 2013, according to Recycling Today.
Consumption of plastic scrap by Chinese manufacturers was 13.6 million metric tons in 2013, a 14.5 percent drop when compared to a total consumption of 16 million metric tons in 2012.
Importing of plastic scrap also declined during the same period. According to James Wang, general secretary of the China Scrap Plastics Association, imports of plastic scrap into China in 2013 was 7.89 million metric tons, compared to 8.88 million metric tons the year before, an 11.2 percent drop.
The declines come just a year after China’s initiation of Operation Green Fence, an operation launched by the Chinese government to improve the quality of imported recyclables. In the past year, China has rejected hundreds of thousands of tons of what it considers low-quality scrap, according to Chinese media as reported by the Washington Post.
Wang, in a communication to CSPA members this month, briefed members on a press conference held by China’s Ministry of Commerce, and also reviewed recycling figures published in a report by the China National Resources Recycling Association.
Regarding the press event, Wang reported that ministry of commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said that because of macroeconomic factors, the recycling industry is under an adjustment period and that the market has not fully recovered, but policy actions by the government may revive the industry. Danyang expressed hope for a turnaround of the Chinese recycling sector.
Regarding the report, Wang noted that China’s recycling industry consists of more than 100,000 institutions and employs 18 million people. Materials recycled the most during 2013 were scrap iron and steel, other scrap metals, plastic scrap, scrap tires, scrap paper, waste electrical and electronic products, end-of-life vehicles and ships.
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