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China to step back from 0.3% contamination threshold for imports?

Asia – The Chinese government is expected to issue final scrap import guidelines towards the end of November or in the first half of December, the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has informed its members. And based on feedback received while attending last week’s China Nonferrous Metals Association conference in Ningbo, contaminant thresholds appear likely to be set at 1% for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, 1% for paper and 0.5% for plastics.

Although this information has appeared in the media, ISRI stresses that ‘it cannot be confirmed until the Chinese government issues the final regulation’ and that the timeline for compliance to commence remains unknown.

In the interim, ISRI members and Chinese customers are reporting that materials ‘are entering China under the current rules’. Chinese industry associations believe the 1% unwanted materials threshold to be a ‘victory’ given the earlier, widely-publicised proposal for a 0.3% ceiling.

At the recent BIR world recycling convention in New Delhi, recovered paper industry experts argued that a cut in the threshold figure from the current 1.5% to 0.3% would be unachievable.

Andreas Uriel, managing director of German paper recycler Uriel Papierrohstoffe, told the paper division meeting that 0.3% ‘simply cannot be achieved by the sorting technologies that we have today’ and that ‘we would need several cycles of sorting to even come close’.

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