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New complaint to China over import restrictions

The US-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has maintained its pressure on the Chinese authorities by complaining that draft proposals to limit contamination levels to 0.3% would effectively prohibit scrap exports.

It has written to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) following China’s notification to the World Trade Organization that certain material grades would no longer be accepted and a tougher reject threshold would be imposed on all grades. ISRI labelled the latter impracticable and unfair.

In the UK, Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin has argued it would be impossible to meet such a limit in the short term because of the major changes required along the supply chain.

500 isri wiener

500 isri wiener

The letter to MEP was written by president Robin Wiener (pictured): “ISRI is extremely concerned with the reduction of the control requirement for ’carried waste’ to 0.3% for all commodities.

“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.

“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 utilised for all the other commodities as well.”

Wiener also complained about a 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,” she wrote.

ISRI requested more time to evaluate proposed threshold values related to allowable radiation levels, although it does support added controls.

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