China’s Paper Import Changes Force India to Review Own Regulations

Changes in China’s handling of paper waste imports are posing environmental hazards to India, Indian officials claim.

According to Sanjay Singh, Divisional Chief Executive of Paperboards and Specialty Papers for ITC Ltd., China’s regulations limiting imports of waste paper and other materials have negatively impacted India’s sustainable waste management procedures.

“The surge in import of contaminated waste paper poses a serious environmental threat to India and undermines the pioneering work done by Indian paper makers in promoting sustainable manufacturing practices,” Singh told the Hindu Business Line.

He continued, “It is imperative for India, therefore, to impose a ban on such harmful imports and encourage Indian paper makers to implement innovative and eco-friendly models of recycling and manufacturing, thus creating and retaining value within India. Such measures would also ensure a significant reduction in contaminated waste paper going to landfills, while protecting precious livelihood in a circular economy.”

Looking ahead, it appears that Indian government officials may eventually follow China’s lead when it comes to regulations on mixed and waste paper imports into the country.

With a rise in waste paper imports already evident in India this year, this could happen sooner rather than later.

According to numbers provided by the India Agro & Recycled Paper Mills Association, mixed waste paper imports reached about 19,000 tonnes (nearly 21,000 U.S. tons) per month between 2018 and 2019 increased to 1.5 lakh tons per month (or 150,000 U.S. tons). The association also stated that most recyclable paper collected in India is sent to landfills. In fact, only up to 30% of what is collected is properly recycled.

All more of the same. At the end of the day, it is our opinion that we need to clean up our act here at home. You are reading more and more about cities actually imposing contamination fines if your household waste is not sorted in the correct container. This practice is bringing recycling market problems into focus among the public in a big way.

Berg Mill has a long history as one of the pioneers in the industry, and we are not going anywhere even when faced with recyclable import changes. Every day we are making progress, as new homes start to become more and more real for your material whether it be paper, plastic, metal, textiles, etc. Yes, the current market situation is very tricky but that is why we are here. If you continue to handle large amounts of recycled waste and are looking for solutions to offload idle scrap, please contact our industry veterans at Berg Mill Supply.