Concerns about waste paper export quality have been dismissed by a former president of the Independent Waste Paper Processors Association.
The industry source told MRW that PaperChains comments - that significant quantities of recovered paper, deemed non-recyclable by UK processors due to contamination are being exported to China - were misleading and factually incorrect (see MRW story).
He said: UK mills are pedantic in the extreme about quality. Any material sent to China has been certified by the CCIC, the Chinese inspection agency in London. Export quality is supported by the CCIC specification. Its tolerance of contamination is 0.1%, thats about a breath of air!
People who send paper there also have to be accredited by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and the Chinese National Environmental Protection Act licensing system. When material arrives in China, its domestic inspection agency, the CIQ, also checks it.
China is one of the main places for paper export because the demand is there. The country is constant in its demand and prices. And we collect more paper in the UK than we can process domestically.
He also rejected comments that any material too contaminated to be made into new products is landfilled or incinerated. He said: The paper that goes to China is all recycled into new paper or card products. The danger is that local authorities will see PaperChains comments and say to exporters: We wont sell paper to you because youre exporting it.
Recycled paper is an internationally traded commodity and has been for years. It supports the balance of trade and means that ships bringing cheap consumer goods here dont return to China empty.
The members of paper trade associations know this. Its all about control of export. The bigger exporters want to get the material so they can decide to export it.