NEW YORK Chinas
push to enforce rules on imports of certain recycled and waste
products is focusing primarily on trade activities at major
coastal ports and the provinces of Anhui, Hubei, Hunan and
Jiangzi, according to an industry group.
effortdubbed "Operation Green Fence" by market
participantsis aimed at ensuring that businesses operate
legally. It could affect some small businesses, but the impact
for the overall industry is more psychological because most are
already observing the rules, according to officials at the
China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association Recycling Metal
Although Chinese Customs and
Ministry of Environmental Protection officials are simply
adhering to the rule book, some ports have overreacted with
their own interpretation of the rules, which has affected some
businesses operations, according to CMRA vice president
and secretary-general Wang Jiwei.
The enforcement effort has
affected flows of scrap metal, among other materials, into
China, with customs officials in Shanghai reportedly announcing
April 11 that they had found and confiscated 6,000 tonnes of
"smuggled mineral waste residue" since the initiatives
launch in February, CMRA said.
The group stressed that Green
Fence is not an introduction of new regulations but an
enforcement of existing ones.
Of the 6,000 tonnes of waste
that was confiscated in Shanghai, 115 tonnes were made up of
"smuggled waste (tires) that came from West Asia and East
Europe" and carried arsenic and cadmium contaminants that were
well above standard, CMRA delegates told U.S. scrap industry
members at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
recent annual convention in Orlando, Fla.
Chinese Customs officials are
carrying out the enforcement exercise until November in order
to strengthen supervision of imported solid waste in the
nations fight against "foreign garbage smuggling," Jiwei
Chinese authorities are focusing
on rules laid out in two notices introduced several years ago,
according to market sources. The first notice, issued by
Chinas State Environmental Protection Administration in
2006, listed items banned from nonferrous scrap, including
"radioactive wastes, explosive arms and ammunition, such as
discarded bombs and shells, wastes containing polychlorinated
biphenyls, and other wastes listed in the National Catalogue of
Hazardous Wastes" (
amm.com, March 13).
The second notice, published
March 29, 2010, contained rules pertaining to the import of
loose scrap materials. The Bureau of International Recycling
told its members April 16 that the full impact of the 2010
ruleswhich are said to aim for a ban on all loose loads
of scrap metal shipped to Chinais still unclear.
Jiwei said the Chinese
government still supports the import of scrap waste and
"actively promotes recycling resource industrialization," but
there are environmental consequences to importing waste that
enforcement will address.
The quality of imported
recycling material apparently has varied significantly, with
inspections uncovering and consequently disqualifying imported
containers that were found to contain mice, advertising fliers,
excessive radiation, and flammable and explosive materials.
Jiwei said there had been
several reported cases of false and concealed materials, false
invoicing and other practices banned under Chinese law. The
materials being tracked are scrap metals, scrap plastic, scrap
paper and scrap textiles, he said.
Authorities will closely examine
import license applications and conduct several spot
examinations on importing businesses. The spot checks will
target at least 20 percent of the total enterprises present in
key trading regions, and at least 10 percent of all businesses
operating in other regions, according to Jiwei.
China also will work to
strengthen interdepartmental coordination between the China
Certification & Inspection Group and Chinas General
Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and
Quarantine, he said.
During inspections, customs
officials will strictly implement environmental protection
control standards that require, among other things, the amount
of mixed weight sundries to be less than 2 percent and
hazardous wastes to be less than 0.01 percent.
Officials also will strictly
enforce stipulations for the classification of shipments, and
scrap metals cannot be loaded in the same container with
non-key solid waste as the goods do not belong to solid waste,
The inspections will make the
time for clearance longer and decrease the turnover rate of
current capital, the association said, and suggested that
importers and exporters reach mutual understandings "to share
the pressure together."
Chinese media reports last year
shed light on some bad import practices.
CMRA said one such report by a
local news agency said 55,000 fliers were found in shipments of
juice boxes from the United States, which take "100 years to
degrade and will produce harmful gas." Another report said that
millions of tons of household rubbish already sorted by
families for recycling was being shipped to such countries as
China, India and Indonesia, with most of the waste ending up in