Since China closed its doors to imports of various recyclables from the U.S., India has been one of the countries taking in more materials—particularly nonferrous and paper scrap.
According to a report in Recycling Today, the demand for ferrous scrap has remained steady in India, while the demand for nonferrous scrap has increased. The report notes that India is the second largest steel producer in the world, with ferrous scrap being used to produce more than half of its total steel output. Aluminum is the largest nonferrous scrap import to India, according to the report.
Additionally, India imported more recovered fiber in the past year, with imports of paper and paperboard into India steadily increasing over the last seven years.
Earlier this month, however, India announced plans to ban scrap plastic imports in an effort to sustainably strengthen waste management in the country. More recently, the country has stated it will delay the scrap plastic ban until the end of August, allowing more time for the recycling industry to prepare and adapt to the changes.
Recycling Today has more information:
Not a single family of scrap commodities was immune to the restrictions and bans implemented by China in 2018. Certain types of ferrous, nonferrous, paper and plastic scrap all needed to find alternative markets to some degree.
“The good thing about the China problem is that it did not happen overnight,” says Sunil Bagaria, president of GDB International, New Brunswick, New Jersey. “Progressively, they implemented a series of steps. That was enough for anybody to understand the China problem is a permanent problem.”
With that door closing to some U.S. scrap imports, others have opened. India serves as one of the growing countries for U.S. recyclers looking for export markets, specifically for nonferrous and paper scrap.