Posted on 04/11/2013 in category Convention

Recent BIR World Recycling Convention in Warsaw (28-29 October 2013)

Plastics Committee: “Green Fence” is “a blessing in disguise”

China’s “Green Fence” import quality controls had not been good for traders in the short term but would benefit them and also the Chinese plastics recycling industry in the long run, it was argued in Warsaw by the BIR’s Plastics Committee Chairman. Ultimately, “practically everyone” would reap rewards from this “blessing in disguise”, maintained Surendra Borad of Gemini Corporation NV in Belgium.

He acknowledged at the body’s latest meeting on 28 October 2013 that “Green Fence” had led to “widespread confusion and indecisiveness”, as well as to a drop of more than 16% in exports of plastics scrap from Europe to China when comparing the first half of 2013 with the same period last year. US exports were 7% lower across the first seven months of the year, he added.

In the long term, however, “Green Fence” would mean increased sorting in exporting countries and regions - including the USA and Europe where insufficient capacity existed to recycle all its available volumes, Mr Borad emphasised. In addition, the cost of transporting plastics scrap would be reduced as a result of greater sorting and removal of contaminants.

In Europe, Mr Borad later added, 6.6m tonnes of the 25m tonnes of plastic waste generated each year went for material recycling, of which around half was recycled beyond the continent’s borders.

Turning to the Indian market, Mr Borad reported a change in policy aimed at 100% re-export of imported plastic scrap within the coming five years. And BIR’s Plastics Committee Chairman also delivered the Germany/Netherlands report prepared by Peter Daalder of Daly Plastics and the US submission from Larry Schipper of International Alloys: the former spoke of “sluggish” export activity while the latter identified the emergence of newer markets such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia which were “taking the place of some of the loss of shipments of Chinese grades”.

In other presentations, the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ President Robin Wiener confirmed that her organisation and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers had recently published joint plastic model bale specifications, including Bulky Rigids, Tubs and Lids with Bulky, and Tubs and Lids without Bulky. And Gregory Cardot of Veolia Propreté noted that prices of recycled plastics had come under pressure of late in France and that most converters “are buying just what they need at lower prices, waiting for a better end of year”.

The two guest speakers at the BIR Plastics Committee meeting in Warsaw focused on the impact of legislation introduced this year in Poland. With local authorities becoming the owners of the municipal waste produced in their areas and setting up tenders for collection, transportation and management, marketing specialist Pawel Polonecki of the BYS waste management group believed more raw materials would come on to the market each year if the regulations were followed. And according to Szymon Peter Dziak Czekan of Kalman Plastic, Poland’s regulations were now the same as in Western Europe and were helping to turn the country into “a place to make money”.