Thai Government and Siam Kraft Industry agree 2% contamination limit on waste paper imports

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Pollution Control Department
Thai officials inspect the rejected paper bales that contained plastics and they decided were municipal waste

A 2% contamination limit on waste paper imports has been agreed between the Thai Government and paper mill Siam Kraft Industry.

This follows Thailand ordering Siam Kraft Industry to return waste paper bales that contained plastic contamination to the unnamed country of origin.

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Siam Kraft Industry and Thailand’s Pollution Control Department held a meeting to agree a process that would allow the mill to continue to import recovered fibre products.

It has now been agreed that:

  • Siam will sort to an international standard that no more than 2% of the material will be contamination
  • The company will inspect imported products from country of origin to destination to ensure it meets this standard
  • If the quality of the material does not exceed this contamination level, it can be imported as a raw material as part of the paper/cardboard production process
  • If Siam Kraft Industry imports waste paper that exceeds that standard, it will not use that trading partner again
  • All containers that exceed the standard will be sent back to the country of origin
  • Containers from Siam Kraft Industry will be more strictly inspected to prevent this kind of incidence happening again.

In addition to this, the Thai Government will notify the authorities of the country of origin of any illegal imports so they can prosecute the exporting trading partners if they wish.

Paul’s view

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

Has Thailand just brought in a 2% contamination limit through the back door?

Certainly, Siam Kraft Industry will now have to meet that limit, but it could also be viewed as setting a precedent.

Thailand seems determined to stop illegal plastic imports in particular, and there is a great deal of tension between its plastic manufacturing industry and its requirements, and the political needs of Thailand’s Environment Ministry.

With Siam Kraft Industry importing paper that, according to Thai officials, also contained a significant proportion of plastics, this was reason to crack down on imports from the company.

This meeting appears to have come up with a solution that allows Siam Kraft Industry to continue to import, but can also be viewed as guidelines under which other recovered fibre imports can send material to Thailand safely.

If companies export paper/cardboard to Thailand, and the load contains plastics, and more than 2%, then it runs the risk of having the material returned.

Plus, it also appears that Thailand’s Customs Department is also targeting imports of materials other than plastics, to check contamination levels.

Those who export to Thailand now need to recognise that its Government does not want plastics imported, and seems to accept that 2% contamination is a fair limit.

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