Customs officials and recyclers see Green Fence standards staying in place beyond 2013.
Plastics recyclers who gathered for the RePlas 2013 Autumn event in November in Hangzhou, China, took part in an event that one of its hosts described as the first such convention in the “post-Green Fence era.”
The effects of Operation Green Fence and reactions to it from plastics recyclers dominated much of the programming at the RePlas 2013 Autumn event.
Although recyclers in other parts of the world have complained about a lack of clear communication from Chinese authorities about Green Fence, China Scrap Plastics Association (CSPA) President Dr. Du Huanzheng told RePlas attendees he was pleased with the lines of communication that have been established between the government and plastics recyclers.
“Just before Green Fence, AQSIQ (Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) had contacted our association and identified which are the illegal procedures,” said Du.
Subsequently, he said, government agencies “have been extensively hearing from us [and] working with us on implementation. We are very happy to see such communication.” Du added that AQSIQ had conducted seven workshops on Green Fence since August in cooperation with CSPA that attracted 60 recycling companies. “Our government highly requests our reports from the field,” he added.
CSPA Executive President Dr. Steve Wong, also president of Hong Kong-based Fukutomi Co. Ltd., said the association will work on lengthening that line of communication to other parts of the world. “We want to establish a long-term idea and communication chain with foreign and international counterparts,” he commented.
A speaker referred to as Ms. Li of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said Green Fence remains necessary to prevent “secondary pollution” and to “counter foreign waste smuggling.”
Li stated that companies caught using an AQSIQ license to import mixed wastes or using one that does not belong to them not only face cancellation of their licenses but they “will face criminal charges.”
China’s government has been paying particular attention to irregularities in plastic scrap imports, she said, because plastic scrap has chemical regulatory tie-ins with environmental and human health implications.
Surendra Borad, chairman of Gemini Corp., Antwerp, Belgium, who also chairs the Plastics Division of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), Brussels, offered his viewpoint as a plastic scrap exporter.
“Recycled plastic traders may perceive Green Fence as a hindrance in the immediate future, but it will serve the interests of the trading community in the long run,” he commented. “Green Fence is in the best interest of the users of reprocessed plastics and for the environment,” added Borad, stating that it also will “benefit the Chinese recycling industry in the long run.”
RePlas 2013 Autumn was Nov. 6-8 at New World Century Grand Hotel in Hangzhou, China.