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Paper Recycling May 23, 2019 02:30:44 PM

Commerce Dept. Indicates Dramatic Drop in U.S. Scrap Plastic Exports

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The huge decline in overall scrap plastic shipments was mainly on account of the reduced intake by China.
Commerce Dept. Indicates Dramatic Drop in U.S. Scrap Plastic Exports

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The latest trade figures published by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates dramatic drop in exports of scrap plastics by the country during the initial quarter of the current year. The exports reduced to almost half when compared with the corresponding quarterly period in 2018.

The U.S. exported 374 million pounds of scrap plastic in Jan-Mar ’19. The exports had totaled almost double the quantity in first quarter 2018. When matched with the corresponding quarter in 2017, the exports were down sharply by 67%.

The huge decline in overall scrap plastic shipments was mainly on account of the reduced intake by China. The Chinese imports plunged heavily by more than 98% when compared with 2017 levels. The stricter restrictions imposed by other destination countries also led to the fall in export volume.

For instance, the imports by Malaysia dropped significantly to total only around 23 million pounds in Q1 this year. This compares with 159 million pounds in the same quarter last year. Also, Thailand witnessed huge decline in quarterly imports from 94 million pounds in 2018 to 14 million pounds in 2019. The imports of U.S. scrap plastic by Vietnam also tumbled over the year, falling from 69 million pounds in Q1 2018 to just around 5 million pounds in Q1 this year, Commerce data said.

Meantime, U.S. recovered fiber exports dropped 5% year-on-year to total 4.7 million short tons during the initial quarter of 2019.

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