China’s Ban, hits U.S. Plastic Scrap Exports in 2017 .


News that China would ban certain scrap imports shook the recycling industry last summer, yet U.S. global scrap exports increased overall in 2017 according to a new analysis from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).However demand for plastics scrap was weaker

ISRI Chief Economist Joe Pickard. said "One need look no further than the plastics data to see the potential impacts of China’s import ban on scrap commodities.”

China’s ban and change in regulations will continue to redirect global scrap flows,” Pickard stated. “The implementation of reduced ‘carried waste’ thresholds starting March 1 remains squarely in focus for scrap recyclers despite numerous unanswered questions. Among those questions are: what exactly constitutes carried waste; whether one percent for nonferrous scrap and 0.5% threshold for all other scrap materials can be effectively (and consistently) implemented; and whether import license cuts will be geared mainly toward mixed metal shipments or for all nonferrous scrap commodities. Furthermore, the difference between scrap and waste remains a critical distinction in policy discussions moving forward.”  

Plastic Scrap:  U.S. plastic scrap exports were hit hardest by the Chinese import restrictions announced last year. Plastic scrap export sales to mainland China and Hong Kong dropped 32% and 38%, respectively, in dollar terms in 2017. As Chinese plastic scrap purchases plummeted, the total volume of U.S. plastic scrap exports fell 14 percent to 1.67 million metric tons, the lowest level since 2008. The drop-off in Chinese import demand for plastic scrap was especially dramatic late in the year, despite the regulations not yet coming into effect.

Additional data along with commodity-specific charts and tables are available on the ISRI website.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™.


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