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Britain improves waste exports to China

By Angus McNeice in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2018-11-20 01:15

Britain has set up a new scheme to improve the quality of its waste paper exports to China. The move is a response to recent Chinese bans on certain types of solid waste imports.

The new quality control initiative has been jointly developed by the UK Recycling Association and the Chinese Certification and Inspection Group, also known as the CCIC, in London.

The scheme involves inspections at depots to ensure that paper scrap destined for China meets specifications. As British depots already have existing quality control systems in place, this new scheme is optional for UK companies.

Britain used to export millions of tons of waste each year to China, before in January this year, the Chinese government stopped accepting imports of types of scrap on environmental grounds.

Under the new regulations, China banned certain kinds of waste plastic and paper, and also reduced the threshold for contaminants in shipments of recyclate.

At the end of this month the new scheme will run five regional seminars for British exporters, delineating which types of paper scrap will be accepted in China for recycling.

"UK material has seen a huge improvement to meet the quality standards set by the Chinese government," said CCIC London Managing Director Huang Shouyun.

"This new quality control scheme will meet the Chinese inspection requirements while maintaining high-quality fiber exports to China," he added.

Recycling Association Chief Executive Simon Ellin said the new scheme will help ensure that British exporters do not suffer unnecessary delays and costs on their shipments.

"This partnership with CCIC London to develop this quality control system is proving the UK commitment to high quality fiber exports," Ellin said. "This system will prove to be beneficial to exporters in ensuring their material meets the rules of the export destination."

The UK exports around half of the 5 million tons of scrap paper and cardboard it collects each year, with China the main recipient. Prior to the Chinese ban on certain types of mixed paper imports, Britain exported 1.4 million metric tons of paper and cardboard to China each year.

Between 2012 and 2017, Britain exported 2.7 million tons of plastic to China, according to estimates from environmental organization Greenpeace. Since the ban, British exports of scrap plastic to China have fallen by 98.3 percent, according to UK government export data.

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