Although the Chinese government has taken measures to control the import of used plastics, the plastics recycling industry will still maintain double-digit growth.
Ning Hongtao, president of the Plastics Recycling Committee of China Plastics Processing Industry Association, said at the Chinaplas Green Forum 2014 that China is still the world's largest importer of waste plastics, and the amount of domestic waste plastics recycled and utilized is also Growing.
He said that the implementation of the hedge action last year caused the consumption of waste plastics to fall by 1 million tons, which was not much lower than expected.
He added that although some senior companies have reduced their imports or transformed into other businesses, the number of new applications for waste plastics import licenses has gradually increased. China has more than 3,000 registered waste plastics import and processing enterprises.
At present, the total number of enterprises engaged in the processing of waste plastics in China exceeds 10,000.
Among the total amount of waste plastics recycled in China, the proportion of imports is not very high. According to the data compiled by the special committee, in the total amount of 24.9 million tons of recycled plastics in 2013, the import volume was 7.9 million tons, accounting for slightly more than 30%.
The EU remains the largest source of imported plastics from China, accounting for a quarter of China's total imports of used plastics.
Ning Hongtao said that more than 40% of the total plastic recycling industry in China is carried out by large and medium-sized enterprises. Most of these enterprises are located in the coastal plastic processing developed areas, with relatively stable import/purchasing sources and sales channels, and the profits are relatively high.
Large-scale recycling enterprises in the central and western regions are mainly engaged in the recycling of domestic plastics.
The provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong and Hebei are the main distribution and processing centers for recycled plastics, and the focus of each region is different.
High-grade LDPE films and HDPE materials are mainly recycled in Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong. Zhejiang, Shanghai and Jiangsu require clean PET, HDPE, polypropylene and some engineering materials. Fujian has a large demand for low-grade LDPE membranes. Guangdong consumes a large amount of engineering plastics and some PE, PP and PET.
China's plastic recycling rate has steadily increased over the past five years, reaching 30% in 2013.
A large number of small and medium-sized recycling enterprises have a specialized division of labor, an efficient logistics distribution network, and strong competition and survivability. However, these enterprises generally lack environmental awareness, and thus become the normative focus of the government. Ning Hongtao pointed out that the current policy requires regenerative enterprises to adopt more environmentally friendly treatment measures. Large enterprises are more likely to receive policy support, and the living space of small enterprises will be gradually lost.
Some small polluting small businesses will launch the market, while others will move into large regenerative industrial parks.
In light of various factors, China urgently needs the emergence of formalized and large-scale plastic recycling enterprises.
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