UK Recycling Association Responds to China’s 0.5% out-throw Limit

According to, the Recycling Association in the UK has declared China will find it very difficult to comply with its new contamination level targets.

Last week, the Chinese Government notified the World Trade Organization that it would implement a 0.5% contamination level on waste materials including paper and cardboard, plastics and others apart from 1% that will be allowed for non-ferrous metals.

While this new limit will reduce the out-throw level from the current 1.5%, it is higher than the 0.3% that China originally proposed in August.

This level will be adopted on 31 December 2017, but will actually come into force on 1 March 2018.

For paper, the new standards will not apply to mixed papers, which remain banned from import into China. For plastics, only post-production plastics are allowed to be sent to China with material from post-industrial or post-consumer sources remaining on the prohibited list.

China has also outlined that it will reduce the number of waste import licenses allowed in 2018.

The Recycling Association President Adrian Jackson said: “While we welcome the flexibility shown by the Chinese Government in raising the out-throw limit to 0.5% from the original 0.3% that was proposed, this is still a very, very challenging target. We would have liked to have seen paper and cardboard given at least the same out-throw target as non-ferrous metals that are allowed 1% contamination.”
He further added, “We should be under no illusion that a 0.5% contamination level will be extremely tough to meet, especially with only until 1 March 2018 to hit that requirement. From now, every part of the supply chain has to focus on quality first, so that we can continue to send secondary materials to our biggest purchaser.”
He continued, “The Recycling Association understands that the WTO has requested a transition period of five years, and we will be pushing for the Chinese Government to give more certainty to the worldwide recycling industry by taking on board this request.”
However, with plastics now banned, apart from a very small amount of post-production material, this should serve as a warning that unless we produce a quality product from other materials, we could risk losing the Chinese market altogether.
“Let’s now take this as an opportunity to make the UK the best market for quality recycled products.”

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