Recycling Industry Calls on China to Better Differentiate Between Scrap and Waste Definitions

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) today released its
comments to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to China’s
notification of its intent to revise its Identification Standards for
Solid Wastes General Rules. As the Voice of the Recycling Industry
TM, ISRI supports the efforts of the Chinese Government to
protect the health and welfare of its citizens and the environment, but
suggests improving the language in the draft Standard to help properly
identify scrap materials that are valuable commodities used as raw
materials as distinct from waste that has no value or use.

Highlights from ISRI’s comments are as follows (full
text available
):

“ISRI supports efforts on the part of the Chinese Government to
develop guidelines for the identification of solid wastes, crafted in
such a way as to promote environmental sound management of such wastes.
… There is a need to distinguish scrap from waste within the Standard,
as well as in the underlying regulations and related notices issued by
the Chinese, in order to better facilitate the legitimate trade of
high-quality scrap commodities and at the same time prevent the improper
trade of waste materials.
Unfortunately, the Standard as drafted
uses the term ‘solid waste’ inclusive of both trash and scrap, creating
confusion and uncertainty within the U.S. and global recycling industry.

“Simply put, scrap is not waste. Waste – often called “trash”,
“refuse” or “garbage – is a material that has no value and is not
wanted. Wastes are disposed of because they are no longer useful.
In
contrast, Scrap – often called “recyclable material” or “secondary
material” – is a valuable commodity sold in the global marketplace
according to industry-wide, globally recognized specifications as a raw
material in lieu of virgin materials for manufacturing.
Worldwide,
more than 800 million metric tons of scrap commodities are consumed each
year. …

ISRI’s
Scrap Specifications Circular
contains several hundred
specifications covering ferrous scrap, nonferrous scrap, glass cullet,
paper stock, plastic scrap, electronics scrap, and tire scrap. These
specifications are used by industry members to facilitate the buying and
selling of their materials and by customs officials for customs
clearance purposes.
To that end, ISRI supports a ban on unusable
waste that does not meet the specifications. …

“ISRI respectfully requests the Chinese government use more specific
terminology in reference to recyclable materials (such as 回收料
[Huíshōu
liào]) in order to properly distinguish between high-value scrap
commodities and waste.
This is an opportunity to incorporate such
terminology in the Standard and other rules and regulations under
consideration by the Chinese Government.”

The comments filed by ISRI with the WTO are only one element of ISRI’s
comprehensive effort to protect the interests of the recycling industry
as China looks to impose significant changes on the movement of scrap
into China. ISRI is holding high-level discussions with the U.S.
Government (both within the Trump Administration and on Capitol Hill)
and communicating directly with the Chinese government, while also
coordinating with our counterparts throughout the world and with the BIR
to ensure a widespread global effort.

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