China’s ban on scrap imports is being turned into an advantage

When China banned the importation of waste import into their country, junk removal Orange County and across the US, as well as the world at large, took notice. While some are facing issues regarding this development, the US’s recycling programs have seen the silver lining, as investment into US plants that process recyclables.

Notably, some of the investors pouring money into US plants include Chinese companies, who still have demand for access to recycled materials for manufacturing processes.

Meanwhile, US paper mills are expanding their capacity in order to take advantage of the sudden increase in volume of scrap in the country. Certain facilities that used to export plastic or metal to China have refitted themselves in order to handle the scrap themselves.

Co-Founder Neil Seldman, of the Washington-based Institute for Self-Reliance, a group that assists US cities in improving their recycling programs, says that it’s a good time for recycling in the US.

China, which has been the world’s largest destination for recyclables for years now, phased their import restrictions early January 2018. As a result, global scrap prices dropped, resulting in companies that handle junk removal Orange County and across the US to pass the cost of sorting and baling recyclables to municipalities. Without a market for recyclable materials in their bins, some places opted to either scale back or suspend their curbside recycling programs.

The recent investments, totaling at about $1 billion by early May, offer some hope for the market. One major investment was from the Hong Kong-based Nine Dragons, one of the world’s biggest cardboard box manufacturers, which invested $500 million over the past year in several paper mills in Maine, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Brian Boland, VP of Government Affairs and Corporate Initiatives for ND Paper, Nine Dragons’ US subsidiary, says that these changes are great, as Chinese-owned companies are making jobs in the US, as well as revitalizing communities in places like Old Town, Maine.

Domestic recycling companies, like Far West Recycling in Portland, Oregon, saw most of the scrap that went to China going to Canada or California, with plants accommodating the shift with improvements to their facilities.

The New York-based Closed Loop Partners recently invested in several local plants, like IntegriCo Composites’ plant in Sarepta, Louisiana. Closed Loop Founder, Ron Gonen, says that, as investors in the US’s recycling and circular economy infrastructure, they see what China has decided to do as an opportunity for investing.