U.S. companies exported less scrap paper and plastic during the first nine months of this year, an analysis of federal trade data shows. The U.S. exported about 12.4 million short tons of recovered fiber over the course of the first three quarters, down 8% from the same period in 2021. In terms of plastics, the country exported 737 million pounds during the first nine months of 2022, down 22% year over year.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently published data for September, allowing Resource Recycling to crunch numbers for 2022 through September. The first-half 2022 analysis was published in early September.
Here were the top 10 downstream destinations for U.S. scrap fiber during the first nine months of the year (story continues below chart):
India received 2.97 million short tons (down 6%), Mexico 1.94 million short tons (up 9%), Vietnam 1.39 million short tons (down 11%), Thailand 1.36 million short tons (down 17%), Taiwan 782,000 short tons (down 13%), Canada 654,000 short tons (down 13%), Malaysia 653,000 short tons (up 10%), South Korea 616,000 short tons (down 4%), Indonesia 454,000 short tons (up 2%) and China 266,000 short tons (down 40%). The rest of the world took 1.27 million short tons (down 13%).
The same countries were on the top 10 lists for the first nine months of both 2022 and 2021.
Plastics continue to fall
Here were the top 10 downstream destinations for U.S. scrap plastics during the first half of the year (story continues below chart):
Canada received nearly 245 million pounds (down 16% year over year), Mexico 137 million pounds (up 5%), India 72 million pounds (up 10%), Malaysia 62 million pounds (down 58%), Indonesia 34 million pounds (down 22%), Germany 25 million pounds (up 105%), Vietnam 24 million pounds (down 64%), Turkey 20 million pounds (down 2%), El Salvador 19 million pounds (down 3%) and Pakistan 12 million pounds (up 56%). The rest of the world took in 87 million pounds (down 35%).
The top 10 list for the first nine months of 2022 included a few changes. Germany and Pakistan rose to the top 10 list in 2022, and Taiwan and Hong Kong fell off.
More stories about exports
- EU-to-US scrap plastics trade under threat
- Data Corner: The ongoing decline in US scrap plastic exports
- Data Corner: The new world order in recovered paper exports