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Indian Government to implement One percent contamination limit for all mixed paper imports

09 Jan. 2020

Topic: Pulp & Paper

Rising voices against the contaminated waste paper imports to India, Indian Government is all set to frame a regulatory policy to stop the contamination above the permissible limit. Environmental protection is forcing the Government to put a ‘tab’ of one percent contamination limit on mixed waste paper imports soon.

“The implementation of one percent limit could be in place by March or April 2020, as Government is going to impose inspection clause from mid-January 2020. We have demanded to government to put in place a ‘dual checking system’ of every container. Before shipping the material, there should be independent check by an accredited Agency and second examination is to be performed by any agency other than Custom department,” said Mr. Naresh Singhal, Association of Waste Paper Merchants and Raw materials suppliers to The Pulp and Paper Times  

The custom division will investigate and implement the decision of checking all the waste paper containers arriving to the Indian port along with a Special Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (SIIB). The municipal waste, plastic, medical waste, sludge waste etc. are also not bearable in materials.

According to Resource Magazine, the government will be implementing a one percent contamination limit for all mixed paper imports, with five bales of mixed paper to be inspected randomly in every container arriving in India.

The documents state that imports must contain paper waste only and should not be co-mingled with bio-medical waste, municipal waste or sewage waste. The new restrictions are being implemented due to incidents of the mixing of hazardous and plastic waste with imports of mixed papers being reported.

Commenting on India’s new restrictions, Simon Ellin, Chief Executive of the Recycling Association, said: “We understand that India is now implementing a one percent non-fibre tolerance on paper, which has been in place for 10 years anyway but has never been enforced. They are also inspecting five bales in every container when it arrives. We also believe that the banning of mixed [papers] in China is pretty much an inevitability too.

“As a result, two major exporters have pulled out of the Indian market at least temporarily until it is absolutely clear how everything will be implemented – too many risks [are] attached to the market at the moment.”

The restrictions will increase pressure on local authorities and materials recycling facilities (MRFs) to clean up material streams, with strict contamination limits meaning collected material will need to be of the highest quality to be accepted by importing countries and to attract a good market price.

“It brings it all back to what I am constantly saying, which is where is all of this material going to go?” continued Ellin. “I think we have got so obsessed and focused on plastics that we have taken our eye off the fibre ball. Prices are at their lowest since the 1980s and with mixed at below £70 [per tonne] in some places, councils must be looking nervously over their shoulders. As 60 percent plus net exporters of fibre from the UK, the government needs to take urgent action.”




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