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Need to Know

SWANA Provides Update to States on China’s Proposed Scrap Ban

scrap metal
The update provides background to states on the waste ban and details how the ban could impact state and local recycling programs.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has issued an update to state officials concerning the July 18, 2017, notification to the World Trade Organization from China on its intent to ban certain waste imports.

The update provides background to states on the waste ban, details how the ban could impact state and local recycling programs and suggests action items states should consider to respond to increased market uncertainty.

“I feel very strongly that state agencies and others need to be made aware of the current status of the China recycling situation,” said David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO, in a statement.  “Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen some significant volatility in pricing, discussions at a WTO committee meeting and conversations between U.S. and Chinese officials. It is important that those responsible for regulating recycling operations at the state level are aware of the current disruption in the global recycling market and remind local governments and industry partners to produce high-quality material.” 

In addition to providing education on the potential impacts of China’s waste ban, this update aims to help coordinate and streamline efforts made by state agencies in responding to changes in accepted materials, adjustments in export quality and overall volatility in the global marketplace.

“SWANA members continue to be proud that the association is taking leadership positions on issues that support our mission of treating waste as a resource,” said Tim Flanagan, general manager of the Monterey regional waste management district and SWANA sustainable materials management technical division international board representative, in a statement. “In a global economy, decisions made in Beijing can have an impact on local recycling programs throughout the United States and Canada, making it so important for all stakeholders to be up to date on how their programs could be impacted.”

SWANA submitted comments on China’s waste ban in late August, and Biderman has recently met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials, while communicating regularly with federal agencies and other key stakeholders to ensure SWANA is abreast of this rapidly evolving situation.

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