Indonesia allows waste imports with 2% contamination limit

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Indonesian authorities have confirmed that imports of secondary materials, including metals and paper, will be allowed into the country with a contamination threshold of 2%.

UK recyclers expressed relief at the move and said it would be possible to meet the 2% standard. Indonesia is an important market for the UK, particularly for paper.

In 2019, Indonesia announced that it would limit imports of waste to those with a threshold of 0.5%. He imposed stricter rules which led to the rejection and return of British shipments.

The American Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling Industries (ISRI) was informed of the decision to relax the threshold in a letter from the Indonesian Ministry of Commerce on July 16.

It has been said that recycled products inspected before export – especially metals and paper – can be imported into Indonesia with up to 2% impurities.

Simon Ellin, Managing Director of the Recycling Association, said MRW: “This is very important for our industry, as we export more than 200,000 tonnes of paper packaging per year from the UK there.

“In 2019 Indonesia announced that it was going to ban all imports, so I traveled to Jakarta in September 2019 with ISRI to push for continued imports.

“It now appears that ISRI’s continued lobbying for Indonesia to adopt the US / ISRI standard for imports has been accepted and it is certainly a standard we can meet in the UK.

“Indonesian exports from the UK are very heavily regulated by the Indonesian Inspection Agency and each container must be inspected prior to shipment and therefore the risks are low.

“What the Indonesian ruling highlighted is that a 2% contamination limit is acceptable when broadly equivalent environmental standards apply and the material is suitable for papermaking. We can now continue to supply Indonesia in a pragmatic and regulated manner, which we fully welcome. “

Indonesia has started cracking down on imports of contaminated waste after becoming a major importer following China’s tightening of its environmental rules.

This led to a campaign by the Recycling Association, ISRI and others, who argued that a 0.5% contamination limit was impractical and that the restrictions could seriously disrupt legitimate trade. .

Extract from the letter to ISRI:

“The importation of non-hazardous and toxic waste (hereinafter referred to as non-B3 waste) for industrial raw materials must be verified in the country of origin before shipment to Indonesia, as stipulated in the regulations of the Minister of Commerce of Republic of Indonesia Number 83 of 2020.

“The joint decree which was entered[ed] in force since May 27, 2020, regulates that the impurity tolerance limit for non-B3 paper and plastic waste is 2% maximum. In this regard, the implementation of the provisions relating to impurities will be further regulated by the regulation of the Director General of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Commerce of the Republic. [of] Indonesia, which currently [is] in discussion with the ministries concerned.

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