Calls for Chinese Government to Redefines “Carried Wastes”

Bureau of International Recycling Responds to China WTO Notification

Clarification about the GB Standards that accompanied the Chinese WTO notifications on 15 November 2017 has been called for by the Bureau of International Recycling.

Image © Image via Flickr, Creative Commons, AK Rockefeller

Clarification about the GB Standards that accompanied the Chinese WTO notifications on 15 November 2017 has been called for by he Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), which also suggested some changes.

In letter, BIR said that it supports all efforts to protect human health and the environment.

However, it went on to add that while China has stated that for environmental and health protection purposes its intention is to prohibit imports of “foreign garbage”, BIR points out the necessity to differentiate 'foreign garbage” from inclusions in processed scrap.

BIR argued that inclusions are generally controlled in commercial specifications so they do not harm human health or the environment and do not hinder the use of the recycled raw materials by manufacturing industries.

Hence, the organisation said that the main concern of BIR is the extremely high thresholds for inclusion or ‘carried waste’ in the GB Standards.

BIR also pointed out the difficulty in processing very large tonnages to such very high qualities and the resultant cost increase in the processed secondary raw materials. Lastly, BIR requests equal treatment, i.e. that domestic Standards for the same purpose have the same thresholds.

In its conclusions, BIR requested that the Chinese Government re-defines “carried wastes” in each of these GB Standards so as not to include materials that may be separated and recycled. 'Carried wastes' should be defined as wastes which are only fit for landfill or incineration.

BIR argued against using quality thresholds in these GB Standards as pass/fail trade controls specifically where there is no significant human health or environmental impact from ‘carried waste’ and the ‘carried waste’ does not affect the onward recycling processes or utilisation of secondary raw material in manufacturing.

While BIR said it supported the efforts China has taken to protect its Environment it points out that the Chinese GB Standards threshold for  inclusion or ‘carried waste’  in their 2005 version were already extremely high when compared to generally adopted Commercial Specifications (with thresholds of 2 - 5% more common).

BIR proposed to first strictly enforce the GB Standards from 2005 to gain experience of using such Standards.

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