More and more countries are starting to tighten import restrictions on certain materials, resulting in a decrease in prices, a push for higher-quality materials and a shift to new end markets. U.S. e-scrap processors and brokers, however, are still able to move plastics recovered from electronics through Asian markets, though more work is now required, according to a report by Resource Recycling.
From January through August, the largest Asian buyers of e-plastics were Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan, according to the report. And for the past six months, movement in these markets has remained about the same.
Resource Recycling has more:
Asia remains the destination for many plastics recovered from electronics. But as buyers relocate from China to other countries, prices are down and quality and volume are increasingly critical factors.
Recent years have brought tightening import restrictions in countries that used to buy the bulk of U.S. e-plastics, beginning with China at the start of 2018. Still, U.S. e-scrap processors and brokers say they’re currently able to move the material, though extra work is now required.
“Our labor cost definitely is higher, but in today’s market the plastic recyclers are in a shortage of high-quality, cleaned plastics – we command a better price,” said Jade Lee, president and CEO of Lombard, Ill.-headquartered Supply-Chain Services, Inc., a company that does a significant amount of sorting before shipping e-plastics. “It’s still not at the level of before China’s ban on importation, but it’s much better than 2017 and 2018.”