U.S. exports of recovered plastic and paper remained consistent in February, despite global trade policy changes for both materials that went into effect at the beginning of the year.
A high-profile scrap plastic shipment from the U.S. to Malaysia was accepted after the importing country’s government said it contained clean, sorted material. The situation demonstrates the complexities in interpreting new plastic shipping regulations.
Exports of U.S. scrap paper and plastic increased in January 2021 compared with 2020, despite China’s exit from the recovered paper market and new Basel Convention regulations on plastic shipments.
Recovered paper shipments from the U.S. to China slowed immensely as 2020 drew to a close, newly released figures show. Meanwhile, scrap plastic exports decreased during the year, but shipments to certain countries grew sharply.
The end of 2020 was marked by promising recovered fiber prices. An analyst says that’s due to strong domestic and international demand, despite China’s move to cease buying.
The U.S. government has made public an agreement with Canada to continue scrap plastic shipments despite global regulations tightening next year. Environmental advocates are troubled by the deal.
The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment last week announced details about the country’s upcoming ban on all materials it classifies as “solid waste,” including recovered fiber.