Current plastics scrap recycling industry in Europe has become “over-reliant” on exports to China. The sector needs to make efforts to address this serious issue, as discussed by BIR Plastics Committee. The committee’s Chairman informed that of the 3.3 mln tons of plastics scrap that EU exported in 2009, 90% was to China and Hong Kong. China’s imports in Q1-2010 stood at 1.8 mln tons; the slackness in Chinese imports seen in the last three months has shown signs of recovery. He urged the plastics recycling sector in Europe to “develop other markets by de-blocking the restrictions on imports into other regions” such as India and the Middle East.
With the exception of PET, imports of plastics scrap into India can be undertaken by only around 30 companies. The reason for the restriction is the mindset of the Indian system - India considers scrap as waste whereas China considers scrap as raw materials- a potential resource, limiting imports. At present, robust demand for PET scrap can be seen in India amid consistent requirement for clean LDPE.