Thailand’s Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa has ordered that 130 tonnes of mixed paper must be returned to Australia due to contamination.
Although it was declared to be HS commodity code 4704.90 for mixed paper, on inspection it was found to contain cloth bags, food packaging bags, face masks, napkins and aerosol cans.
In total, the contamination was estimated at 20-30%, which Thailand considered as banned municipal waste rather than mixed paper.
The material had been imported by Inter Pacific Paper Company and in discussions with the company, Thailand’s Pollution Control Department had been told that the material was intended to be used in the production of paper rolls.
Although the unnamed mill traditionally only used 4% imported fibre, with the rest coming from domestic sources, it had recently tried to source more material from abroad due to a lack of recycled white pulp in the country.
In its purchase agreement, the mill had agreed with Inter Pacific Paper Company to no more than 1% by weight of impurities. Any plastic scrap within this 1% would need to be sent to a cement plant to be used as a fuel.
Inter Pacific Paper Company must now increase inspections of material to prevent this from happening again.