The global escalation of COVID-19 is hampering some North American recycling programs, impacting Chinese users of U.S. recovered fiber, constraining global shipping, denting stock prices and threatening an economic recession.
One major U.S. mill operator is actively shipping recycled paper pulp to China, and another is installing equipment to bring in lower grades of paper feedstock. Those were a few takeaways from recent earnings calls from publicly traded paper firms.
The Chinese government will consider exempting tariffs on OCC and other recovered fiber on a company-by-company basis. Meanwhile, a tariff on U.S. recycled paper pulp shipments into China has been lifted for one year.
Lower commodity prices continued to batter recycling revenues for the largest garbage and recycling companies last year. But recent moves to charge communities for MRF processing helped soften the financial blow.