ISRI: China’s Proposed Thresholds Could Prohibit Trade of Scrap Materials

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) today released a
sent to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection
commenting on draft changes to its technical standards for imported
scrap. The draft proposes tightening the thresholds for “carried waste”
(i.e. contaminants and prohibitives) to 0.3% for all materials which is
of particular concern to the recycling industry. If implemented, these
standards could effectively prohibit scrap imports to China.

“ISRI is extremely concerned with the reduction of the control
requirement for ‘carried waste’ to 0.3% for all commodities,” wrote ISRI
President Robin Wiener in the letter. “The application of this standard
will effectively result in a ban on the importation of all these
commodities. It is simply not possible to achieve such a control level,
nor is it possible to even measure it with such accuracy.

“The current standards followed globally by the recycling community and
our industrial consumers are found in ISRI’s Scrap
Specifications Circular
and vary depending upon the specific
commodity. For example, for paper, ‘outthrows’ (the equivalent term for
‘carried waste’) generally varies between 1% and 5%, depending upon the
grade of paper. Similar levels are found in the plastic specs. These
numbers were determined through an open and deliberative process within
the global recycling community, and reflect manufacturing standards and
needs. The same open process is utilized for all the other commodities
as well.”

In the letter, ISRI also commented on the proposed 80% weight
requirement for “metal and electrical appliance scraps.”

“In the United States, a 50% threshold is used when defining what is
considered legitimate scrap metal for recycling. For consistency in the
global trade, we would respectfully request that a uniform standard of
50% be used within China as well,” Wiener wrote.

Given the short time frame to provide comments after translations, ISRI
also requested more time to evaluate proposed threshold values related
to allowable radiation levels. ISRI does however support the need for
added controls.

The letter to the Chinese government is part of an ongoing,
comprehensive effort by ISRI to protect the interests of the recycling
industry as China seeks to impose significant restrictions on the
movement of scrap into China. As the Voice of the Recycling Industry TM,
ISRI has engaged the U.S. Government on the issue and is in constant
communication with Chinese officials, and its recycling counterparts
throughout the world. ISRI has also filed comments with the World Trade
Organization related to China’s intent to revise its Identification
Standards for Solid Wastes General Rules
and ban
certain scrap imports

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is
the “Voice of the Recycling Industry™.” ISRI represents more than 1,100
companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and 35 countries that process,
broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper,
plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in
Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and
compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role
recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and
sustainable development. Generating nearly $117 billion annually in U.S.
economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a
million Americans with good jobs.

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