China’s scrap metal imports in March fell by 24.6% to 570,000 tonnes, from 760,000 tonnes in March 2017, as new restrictions on solid waste imports took effect.
Meanwhile, waste paper imports fell by 54.2% to 1.27 million tonnes and China did not import any waste plastic, the South China Morning Post has reported.
Lower contamination limits set by the country’s National Sword initiative – 1% for non-ferrous metal and 0.5% for paper, plastics and ferrous metal – affected shipments even though these did not take effect until 1 March.
Scrap copper imports totalled 220,000 tonnes last month, down 37.7% on a year ago, and the country is to ban imports of category 7 scrap copper, including coiled copper cable and waste motors, from the end of this year.
The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment has already announced a ban on a further 32 types of waste material.
Scrap aluminium imports also fell during the year by 5.6% to 180,000 tonnes. This is set to drop further after China this month said it would impose a 25% tariff on aluminium scrap imports from the US in retaliation against tariffs imposed by the US on imports from China.
Overall, imports of solid wastes including paper, plastics and metal fell by roughly half to two million tonnes during the year to March.
China’s General Administration of Customs has organised a ’Blue Sky 2018‘ campaign to combat the smuggling of banned solid wastes.
The authorities said customs officers acted in 69 cases involving more than 50,000 tonnes of waste, and that officials have since destroyed 25 smuggling rings importing solid wastes, seizing 52 criminal suspects.