Sharp Decline in China’s Imports of Recycle Polymer

China’s imports of recycle polymer plummeted in March 2013 and fell still lower in April, operation “Green Fence” apparently having an impact, especially on imports of recycle polyolefins.

Chinese authorities have been cracking down on imports of contaminated recycle polymers in an effort to reduce pollution. This has not only created a backlog of material waiting for inspection, but has led to unacceptable cargoes being turned away. Year to date, imports of recycle polyolefins, and also PVC are down by 8% to 21%. Imports of recycle PET, however, have continued high, volumes up 13% YTD.

Longer term, reduced availability of recycle polymer may result in higher imports of virgin polyolefins. Year to date through April, China’s imports of virgin LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE were up 3%-10%.