China no longer wants to receive garbage from other countries. As a result, enhanced import inspections by Chinese customs officials have led to severe recycling market confusion worldwide, especially for shippers of recovered paper and plastics.
A campaign aimed at curbing criminal activity could cause headaches for those legally sending recyclable materials across the Pacific Ocean.
Chinese customs authorities are inspecting every container entering the country at certain ports, causing longer shipping times. And some observers say the enforcement efforts could also be driving down recovered paper prices.
China’s three-month-old import action has stalled shipments of some recovered materials from the U.S. and led to substantial import fee increases for shipments that do clear customs.
U.S. recycling leaders who are closely tied to export markets say China’s proposed prohibition on recovered plastic and paper imports could drive changes all the way back to the curb.
Paper industry experts are saying recent statistics indicate China’s paperboard and paper producers are playing a lesser role in the global fiber recycling market.