With China’s future as a plastic and paper scrap importer up in the air, other destinations in Asia could take on added importance in 2018. These emerging economies will be the focus of a session at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe. The conference is being hosted at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 7-8.
At the session titled Gateways and Barriers: The Export Situation II, which takes place Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., presenters will offer updates on the paper and plastic scrap trading opportunities existing and emerging in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and the Indian subcontinent.
Presenters include Hrishikesh Vora of Mumbai-based Victory Creations (a company profiled by Recycling Today in late 2016); Shailesh Gothal of Belgium-based Gemini Corp.; and Michael McManus, who works from Canada for Indonesia-based Asia Pulp & Paper.
Throughout 2017, regulatory and policy changes taking place in China have caused papermakers and manufacturers of plastic goods in China—as well as recyclers shipping to them from throughout the world—to have questions about the future of the scrap trade there. (That will be the topic of the Conference’s opening session, Gateways and Barriers: The Export Situation I.)
As a reaction to those enforcement actions and drafted policy directives in China, manufacturers and recycling processors alike have been exploring their options to shift operations to ASEAN nations such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia or to the Indian subcontinent.
One such recent investment involved a project by United States-based Unifi Inc. to partner with China- and Vietnam-based companies to bring production of recycled-content plastic fibers to Vietnam. When the alliance was announced in January 2017, Unifi’s president Tom Caudle remarked, “Vietnam has been a region of focus for brands and retailers over the past few years. The growth in the region cannot be ignored, with exports of approximately $27 billion of apparel and textiles in 2015, and expectations to grow to $30 billion in 2016. Within the past 18 months, we’ve grown distribution of Repreve to include Turkey, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and now Vietnam.”