Posted on 15/05/2017 in category Non-Ferrous

BIR World Mirror on Non-Ferrous Metals - Issue May 2017

We must distinguish between “scrap” and “waste”

On April 18, China’s President Xi publicly announced a restructuring of import permissions for scrap materials ranging from metals to paper and plastics but didn’t provide specifics or a timetable. This important news was immediately relayed to all BIR members.

Ironically, just one week before this announcement, there was an incident at Suzhou near Shanghai where a major Chinese aluminium consumer placed an import order for Zorba but was actually supplied with demolition waste with no metal value at all; the importer was obviously cheated by the shipper and this news was broadcast on TV as an example of “importing foreign waste”. Could this be the last straw? I think it is very possible.

In our industry, incidents like this happen all the time - from quality discrepancies to the bigger issues of hazardous contamination and even smuggling banned items. Just a small number of incidents could damage the whole industry and, more often than not, the news media points the finger all too easily at scrap processors.

“Waste” or “scrap”? Perhaps in some languages, there is no difference between these two words but, as we are in the recycling industry, we should always look to distinguish between their totally different meanings. To anyone translating from another language into English, I would urge you not to use the word “waste” to describe scrap.

The Non-ferrous Metals Division’s plenary programme for Hong Kong is all set, thanks to the efforts of the working group and board members. See you at the Convention.

by David Chiao
Uni-All Group Ltd (USA)
President of the Non-Ferrous Metals Division

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