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Sharp decline in US plastics scrap exports to China

Asia – America’s plastics scrap exports to mainland China dwindled towards the end of last year in the face of the Chinese government’€™s severe import restrictions, according to figures from the US Census Bureau and the US International Trade Commission.

From a 2017 peak of almost 76 000 tonnes in February, volumes slumped to 13 864 tonnes in November – the last month for which figures are currently available. The sharpest decline was from August to September when plastics scrap flows between the USA and mainland China dropped from 53 734 tonnes to 33 035 tonnes.

In its latest Weekly Market Report, the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries uses the example of PET to illustrate significant recent growth in US exports of plastics scrap to other countries in Asia.

America’s shipments of PET scrap to India surged 50% from 58 747 tonnes in January-November 2016 to 88 155 tonnes in last year’s corresponding period.

Making the same comparison, substantial increases were also recorded for: Vietnam (+166% to 44 716 tonnes); Malaysia (+132% to 37 778 tonnes); Taiwan (+18% to 16 575 tonnes); and Thailand (+876% to 10 153 tonnes).

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