Total output price index in national currency (Gross data) 2010 = 100 (green circle); Industry production index (Seasonally adjusted data) 2010 = 100 (grey circle); Source: Eurostat,

The move by India to ban the import of plastic scrap could create significant problems for the plastic scrap market, according to Surendra Patawari Borad of Gemini Corp., a Belgium-based trading firm.

Borad made this comment during the Plastics Committee Meeting at the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) 2016 World Recycling Convention in Berlin, which was at the InterContinental Hotel 30 May to 1 June.

In his remarks, Borad, who also is chairman of the BIR’s Plastics Committee, said India’s decision to ban the import of plastic scrap has left the market “in limbo” and is likely to result in substantial job losses, not least among those of the country’s recyclers, which relied on supplies from overseas.

“This is very sad,” Borad told delegates at the meeting. “We hope that India will reconsider its decision of placing plastics scrap in the hazardous goods category.”

News of the ban was published in The Gazette of India 4 April 2016, and BIR informed its members of the development. However, the Indian government did not begin enforcing the regulations until late May, Borad said.

“All goods which were loaded before April 4, are being customs-cleared,” he explained. “The goods which were loaded after April 4 will be allowed to be unloaded, but the importers cannot process them until further instructions are given.”

“We hope that India will reconsider its decision of placing plastics scrap in the hazardous goods category.” – Surendra Patawari Borad, Gemini Corp.

Meanwhile, Borad pointed out that plastic scrap availability in Europe “has increased tremendously,” while prices have declined.

Regarding the plastic scrap market in China, Dr. Steve Wong of Fukutomi Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, noted that a similar ban in China is unlikely in the near to medium term, not least because of the need to gain multidepartment approval for such a measure.

Wong, who also is executive president of the Hong Kong-based China Scrap Plastics Association, noted that Chinese authorities have been targeting factories that fail to meet environmental standards designed to protect air, soil and water against pollution for closure.

Reporting on the European market, Marc-Antoine Belthé of France-based Veolia Propreté said he was anticipating a relatively stable market in June against a backdrop of “very consistent” and “resilient” demand for recycled plastics.

Guest speaker at the Plastics Committee Meeting was Stephan Schwarz, the head of ALBA Group’s Plastics & E-Waste Business Unit, based in Germany. He spoke of the need for a flexible business approach to tackle “regulatory volatility.”

In a presentation titled “Opportunities and Challenges in Plastics Recycling,” Schwarz forecasted increasing demand for recycled plastics into the future.

Another speaker at the Plastics Committee Meeting was Thorsten Diephaus of the transportation and logistics firm Panalpina Welttransport (Deutschland) GmbH. Diephaus, who is based in Hamburg, Germany, discussed the environment for the transportation sector. In his presentation, Diephaus said he anticipated “huge” operating losses for most carriers in 2016, as well as further cost reduction programs and the possibility of new, additional surcharges and of shipping rate increases at some point in the near future.

Additionally, interest in “waste” commodities might differ significantly from carrier to carrier based on achievable rate levels, he said.