China’s ban on scrap imports a boon to US recycling plants

ALBANY, N.Y. — China’s decision to restrict scrap imports created big challenges for U.S. recycling programs last year. But it has also spurred investment in plants that process recyclables no longer being shipped overseas.

The investors include Chinese companies that still need access to wastepaper or flattened bottles as raw material for manufacturing.

Dylan de Thomas of the non-profit Recycling Partnership says about $1 billion in investment in U.S. paper processing plants has been announced in the past six months.

The Northeast Recycling Council said last fall that 17 North American paper mills had announced increased capacity to handle recyclable paper since the Chinese cutoff in January 2018.

De Thomas says Chinese companies are investing in plastic and scrap metal recycling plants in Georgia, Indiana and North Carolina.

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