Nearly three weeks after China announced a one-month suspension on U.S. scrap imports, Vietnam has announced that it’s also temporarily suspending scrap plastic imports. Vietnam’s suspension will begin on June 25 and last until October 15. A letter from Vietnam's Tan Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal (TCIT), which was obtained by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), states that the temporary stop of scrap plastic imports is due to “overcapacity” at the Tan Cang-Cat Lai Terminal that’s causing backups and delays.
“I am not surprised that the terminals in Vietnam are full, as that country has been receiving a lot more scrap and recyclables from the United States, Europe, Australia and elsewhere,” says David Biderman, CEO and executive director for the Solid Waste Association of North America. “This development demonstrates the need for prompt action by federal, state and local officials to respond to this major disruption in global commodity markets.”
As of May 21, Tan Cang-Cat Lai has received more than 8,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of scrap metal and paper, and Tan Cang-Cai Mep, a smaller terminal in the area, has stockpiled 1,132 TEUs, which cannot be moved to Tan Cang-Cat Lai because of overcapacity.
“No doubt this latest news will cause further disruptions to the troubles already experienced by the industry,” the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) told Waste360 in an email. “It further highlights the need to diversify recycling markets and to expand our domestic recycling markets. To that end, NWRA has urged federal legislators to support recycling infrastructure as part of the proposed national infrastructure package to reduce our reliance on international markets that can literally disappear with the stroke of a pen. We also call on Congress to assist in the development of domestic markets for consumer recyclables through the enactment of tax incentives and federal grants.”
These recent actions from Vietnam and China put even more pressure on the U.S. recycling industry to generate cleaner materials and find efficient and effective domestic solutions.
Waste360 will continue to follow this development. If you have any updates or insights regarding these recent actions, please email Waste360 Editorial Director Mallory Szczepanski at [email protected].