The ban on imports of recovered paper and cardboard has been beneficial to the fibre recycling sector, this week’s virtual Bureau of International Recycling convention has been told.
J&H Sales managing director Ranjit Baxi noted that China’s purchases of recovered fibre had fallen from between 26 million and 29 million tonnes per year in the three years up to 2017 to 19 million tonnes in 2018, 11 million tonnes in 2019 and 5 million tonnes projected for 2020.
He said that this staged reduction in imports over a period of three years had been beneficial to the recycling sector as “it has allowed the industry to try to reposition itself in newer markets, finding newer outlets”.
BIR Paper Division president Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, who runs paper recycler Paprec in France added that markets had made great strides towards offsetting the loss of orders from China, including through new capacities in Europe as well as through fibre exports being dispatched to a broader range of countries and in larger quantities.
Several speakers noted that Turkey remained a promising market despite a recent decision to cut fibre recycling imports to 50% of a mill’s production capacity.
Ranjit Baxi warned that other countries would adopt similar measures to protect domestic industries and collection programmes and to reduce import bills.
However, divisional vice president Francisco Donoso from Spanish paper recycler Alba Servicios Verdes warned that the reduction in Chinese imports and upcoming ban was having a negative impact on the market. He also complained about the huge recovered volatility in the market, saying that some mills were panicking when afraid of either running out of material or “paying more than necessary for their supplies”.