China set to return 353 tonnes of illegal mixed paper to Japan

Chinese mixed paper Japan
Chinese customs officials inspect illegal mixed paper from Japan

Chinese customs officials have seized 353 tonnes of illegal mixed paper that was exported there from Japan.

Officials from Ningbo Customs inspected a batch of material that was described as ‘office waste paper’ that had arrived from Japan.


But as the 15 containers were inspected, it was discovered that it was mixed office paper, newspapers and magazines and other unsorted waste papers, and therefore was illegal.

China banned import of mixed paper in 2018.

It has now been transferred to another department for further processing and will be returned to Japan.

Paul’s view

Paul Sanderson, REB Market Intelligence
Paul Sanderson, REB Market Intelligence

In years gone by, I’m sure many people in the industry would have looked at the material being inspected by the customs officials (picture at the top of this page) and thought it looked fine.

As would be expected from Japan, there appears to be little contamination of non-fibre material.

But the reality is that it does look like mixed paper rather than office waste paper as it was described. Although there is an argument that had it been classified as news & pam, it might have been permitted.

As we get closer to the ban on all imports of paper and cardboard at the end of the year, this does show the strict inspection regime that China is operating under.

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