China’s strict new regulations on the import of low grade waste for recycling seem set for implementation in 2018. The country’s National Sword programme has been running since 1 March 2017, aimed at clamping down on waste for recycling contaminated with dirty or hazardous material to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.
Measures used to detect the ‘foreign waste’ include increased inspections and the use of x-ray machines to check every incoming container shipment with a focus on the quality of waste paper and plastics. This has led to a sharp and sudden drop in overall demand for all imported recovered fibre by China.
China announced to the World Trade Organisation that the importing of 24 grades of Plastics, Textiles and Mixed Paper would be banned. Britain responded with a GB quality standard document, sent out to relevant parties for consultation. The revised standard proposed a dramatic reduction in the tolerance of contamination from 1.5% to 0.3%, whilst the tolerance of prohibited materials remains unchanged at 0%.
It is expected that the ban will be implemented effective from 1st January 2018 although this hasn’t as yet been confirmed. However, shipments from the UK from now on will need to comply with this anticipating the imminent implementation. It’s important that quality control procedures are strictly followed to ensure that the material sent for shipment does not contain more than 0.3% contamination (Outthrow material), which is deemed acceptable for export. Unsuitable material risks being rejected in China and returned to the UK at significant cost.
We ask for the cooperation of all customers to achieve these strict limits. The consequences of failing to do so could be dramatic for us all.