An association whose members collect scrap paper throughout Hong Kong halted its activities for five days in mid-September 2017 as a way to attract the government’s attention to China’s recent scrap materials import restrictions.
According to an online article by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the Recycle Materials and Re-production Business General Association urged its member companies to let scrap paper build up at shops, offices and apartment complexes as a way to get the Hong Kong government’s attention.
The same article says the association’s leader called off the work stoppage after they decided they would instead to try to solve problems solved by the import restrictions by themselves, rather than getting the government involved. The article also states, however, that prices being paid for scrap paper in Hong Kong have fallen by 50 percent in September.
Throughout 2017, the government of the People’s Republic of China has conducted inspections and announced policy directives targeted toward restricting the amount of and types of scrap materials that are shipped into China. Shipments from Hong Kong, considered a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, are not exempt from those restrictions.
The association president said he and his members are working to find viable markets for their scrap paper as a response to the restrictions, but also told the newspaper, “If this issue is not solved by the end of October, the whole industry will come to a stop regardless. This will be several times more serious.”
As it stands, a series of inspections and import license suspensions at recycling facilities in China in July 2017 has meant that “about 1,000 recycling plants [there] failed to get additional permits to bring in foreign scrap, causing a logjam of inventory in Hong Kong.”
A second recycling association president is quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying that some paper mills in China are still accepting orders, and a government spokesperson said the Hong Kong government will work with both associations to help “provide more diversified outlets for local recyclables.”