Recyclate exporters may soon need to register with Indonesian authorities and face a tougher inspection regime.
The country’s Director General of Foreign Trade Oke Nurwan has announced plans to create a registry of waste exporters, plus tougher border checks.
In particular, the country wants to crack down on illegal plastic waste imports. However, the country wants to ensure that it continues to support its recycling industry so will not ban imports completely.
Oke Nurwan said: “If not from a registered exporter, we will not issue a permit (for imports).”
A total of 15 countries that supply recycled product to Indonesia, including the UK, have been notified of the changes to the rules.
Containers are increasingly stuck at Indonesian ports due to the increased inspections of recycled materials.
The Straits Times reported that around 1,000 containers are awaiting inspection at Indonesian ports, with 600 at the port of Batam alone.
According to the Indonesia Industrial Plastic Export-Import Association, an additional 1,600 containers destined for Indonesia had been held up at Singapore. They were now being exported to Vietnam at a discount.
Indonesian Customs spokesperson Deni Surjantoro told the newspaper that it was sympathetic to the importers’ concerns, but inspections of plastic recyclables in particular needed to continue as they are deemed “risky”.
He added that there was a need to review the existing inspections policy that finds a balance between preserving the environment and protecting domestic industries.
But the chair of Indonesia Industrial Plastic Export-Import Association warned that there are consequences to the increased demurrage costs and detention fees.
Akhmad Ma’ruf Maulana said: “Three companies have closed their operations as they failed to get the raw materials. If the situation persists for the next one week or two weeks, more companies will follow suit.”
He added that his association is calling on the Indonesian Government to permit up to 5% contamination in imports, which must be incinerated by the importer.
Indonesia has been attempting to come up with a satisfactory recyclate import policy in recent months, with ISRI recently reporting that the country would accept its guidelines for recovered paper.