The recycling industry is waiting to see whether China’s radical steps to cut pollution, including closing factories and banning the import of certain grades of plastic and paper scrap will push up prices.
Local experts suggest that supply and demand were still the main factors that dictate market prices and that to blame increased product prices on the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s measures will only rattle the market.
Others attribute the weaker-than-expected cargo demand prior to the Chinese holiday this week to closures of factories by the authorities.
While Norman Global Logistics are specialists in the transport of containerised scrap metal, we monitor all international developments that impact on the wider recycling market.
Industry press reported on Friday that container lines had begun to alert customers to the stricter Chinese import controls on waste paper and plastics.
A report in the New York Times referred to a “crisis” for China’s recycling paper mills, caused by the blockage in regular supplies, which in turn is giving cause for concern to manufacturers facing dwindling stocks of packaging.
The Recycling Association has called on the UK government to intervene, on the relatively short notice ban on certain products.
Association president Adrian Jackson said: “This action by the Chinese government seems draconian and against the spirit of international trade, especially as many companies have worked hard to improve quality.”
However, the general view of the recycling industry appears to be that it is a “delicate situation” and that there is a need to improve the quality of scrap being exported.