Scrap plastic exports plummet 43% this year, paper stable

7 Aug 2019

The latest figures indicate that the plastics recycling disruption is ongoing, and there are many indications the export situation will only experience more uncertainty. For instance, this decrease comes before the impact of the Basel Convention changes in scrap plastic shipping rules. And additional countries are publicly denouncing scrap plastic imports and calling for regulatory reform.

For the first half of this year, the largest buyers of U.S. scrap plastic were Canada (163 million pounds), India (156 million), Hong Kong (78 million), Malaysia (45 million), Mexico (42 million), South Korea (42 million), Indonesia (40 million), Taiwan (36 million), Turkey (30 million) and Thailand (26 million).

Together, those countries brought in 85% of the scrap plastic shipped out of the U.S.

By grade, 43% was PE, 35% was mixed plastics, 12% was PET, 5% was PS and 5% was PVC.