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TRA calls on China to rethink bale contamination change

Asia – The Recycling Association (TRA) of the UK has urged the Chinese authorities to reconsider their proposal to reduce the allowed contamination levels applying to imported bales of recovered fibre. In a consultation document provided by Chinese inspection body CCIC, TRA was made aware that the Chinese government is planning to reduce the current specified level of 1.5% to 0.3% by the end of the year – a figure the association describes as ‘€˜unrealistic’€™.

‘We believe the 1.5% level for OCC, as set out in EN643 (the European list of standard grades of paper and board for recycling) and currently required by the Chinese authorities, provides the correct balance of giving Chinese mills what they need while also allowing for realistic collection and sorting of materials,’ states TRA’s chief executive Simon Ellin.

‘But 0.3% does not take into account the intrinsic nature of the material, with tape, staples, labels, plastic liners and wrapping potentially exceeding this level, even though these are easily removed by the mills as part of the recycling process.’

TRA has also asked the Chinese government for ‘clarity on what is meant by unsorted mixed papers and whether the proposed ban of importing this into China applies to all mixed paper grades’.

In addition, the association has called for a rethink of the proposed total ban on post-consumer plastics, arguing that the 0.3% contamination level planned for certain post-industrial plastic grades ‘could also be applied to post-consumer plastics with no impact on the Chinese environment or human health’.

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