In the U.S., the plastics recycling market has been largely dictated by pandemic-related collection and demand realities. Overseas, a recent Chinese move to restrict recycled plastic pellet imports is posing trade challenges.
Experts with the U.S. EPA say there are a number of potential outcomes from upcoming shifts in global rules governing scrap plastic shipments. Under one possibility, trade in scrap plastic will no longer be allowed between the U.S. and most other countries.
Improper management of scrap plastics in Southeast Asia and elsewhere has increased sharply in the wake of China’s National Sword policy, according to international law enforcement body Interpol.
Another major container ship operator says it’s ending scrap shipments to China as that country prepares to widen its prohibition on imports of recovered material. Meanwhile, insurance providers recently analyzed the Chinese policy and its ramifications for shipping lines.
Federal trade statistics released last week show U.S. export volumes for the first six months of 2019. Recycled plastics have seen a major drop when compared with figures from a year ago.
Citing China’s upcoming legislation that will ban all “solid waste” imports, APM-Maersk this month announced it will stop shipping virtually all recovered materials to China and Hong Kong in the coming weeks.
This article has been updated.
Shipping company Hapag-Lloyd announced it will stop taking recycled material loads to China this year, citing the country’s recent law that referenced an all-out “solid waste” import ban in the near future.