Regulation is denying European companies access to plastic recycling export markets, BIR conference told


The recent BIR convention in Paris was told that EU regulation is preventing its member states from exporting plastics for recycling to 120 countries around the world.

BIR Plastics Committee chair Surendra Borad Patawari (pictured) from Belgium’s Gemini Corporation said that while the USA was able to ship recyclable plastics to 160 countries last year, EU exporters were limited to 74 potential outlets.


A key reason behind this disparity, he said, was a questionnaire sent by the European Commission’s Director General for Trade to non-OECD countries in which governments were asked what ‘wastes’ they would be prepared to import from the EU.

He said that many rejected the notion of importing ‘wastes’ and this was “fostering confusion and misunderstanding”.

In the US, the market is in a “bullish” mood he said, and that a substantial scarcity of raw material was occurring.

He also noted that the Indian Government is relaxing administrative burdens that should widen the issuing of scrap import licences to more recycling companies than currently.

Steve Wong from the China Scrap Plastics Association also told the convention that from 1 January 2015, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection would no longer handle applications for imports of pre-approved solid waste. Instead, importers would have to apply to the municipal environmental protection department.

He also said that China’s Customs Office was proposing to abolish the zero-tariff preferential treatment for those scrap plastics being imported, recycled into raw materials and eventually turned into products for export.

Reduced domestic demand for plastics was causing the market in China to slow, he added, while higher wages compared to South East Asia was also meaning the Chinese plastic recycling market would need to become more efficient to survive.