China/UK – China’s London-based CCIC inspection agency has warned exporters of the need to ensure the mixed papers they send to the country are not contaminated.
According to some UK exporters, the situation was aggravated when several mills which usually prefer using lower-grade material closed their operations, while larger mills would rather avoid mixed papers containing contaminants such as plastic. Others, however, have argued that the crackdown simply reflects a weaker export market, believing reduced prices and slower demand mean Chinese mills can be choosier.
Two of the UK’s leading exporters – ACN and Mark Lyndon (Lee & Man) – have both underlined the need for material of a higher quality, especially from materials recycling facilities (MRFs) which are said to have caused the greatest problems to date.
According to Paul Briggs, Managing Director of Mark Lyndon Paper Enterprises UK which supplies Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing in China, his contacts in China are indicating that hundreds of containers are in quarantine across a number of ports while some have already been earmarked for return to the UK.
‘Most but not all of the problem material is from MRFs in the UK,’ he reckons. A great deal of the country’s inspectors ‘are now limiting contamination to about 1-2% maximum – although this is still officially to be confirmed’, he says. ‘We believe this level of enforcement is permanent and not just a temporary clampdown.’
Nick Watson of ACN in the UK, which exports to China’s Nine Dragons Paper, states that quality issue has been quite a problem for the last six months, yet that the UK market has done nothing to change this – leading their Chinese partners to take their business elsewehere. ‘Most mills in China are finding mixed paper from the Continent to be much better,’ he has told letsrecycle.com.
The problem has arisen because several UK players are not running their MRFs to the proper specifications, recycling insiders suggest. Instead, they are running the belts too fast and would be wise to consider remodelling to serve the present market.
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