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21 June
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World

The United States took the place of China for recycling

Over the past six months, foreign companies have invested more than $ 1 billion in US paper processing plants

Photo: AP

/NOVOSTIVL/ The halt on China’s imports of waste paper and plastic that has disrupted US recycling programmes has also spurred investment in American plants that process recyclables. This article appeared in the Associated Press.

US paper mills are expanding capacity to take advantage of a glut of cheap scrap. Some facilities that previously exported plastic or metal to China have retooled so they can process it themselves.

And in a twist, the investors include Chinese companies that are still interested in having access to waste paper or flattened bottles as raw material for manufacturing.

"It’s a very good moment for recycling in the United States," said Neil Seldman, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Washington-based organisation that helps cities improve recycling programmes.

China, which had long been the world’s largest destination for paper, plastic and other recyclables, phased in import restrictions in January last year.

About US$1 billion in investment in US paper processing plants has been announced in the past six months, according to Dylan de Thomas, a vice-president at The Recycling Partnership, a non-profit organisation that tracks and works with the industry.

Hong Kong-based Nine Dragons, one of the world’s largest producers of cardboard boxes, has invested US$500 million over the past year to buy and expand or restart production at paper mills in Maine, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Another Chinese company, Global Win Wickliffe, is reopening a closed paper mill in Kentucky. Georgia-based Pratt Industries is constructing a mill in Wapakoneta, Ohio that will turn 425,000 tonnes of recycled paper per year into shipping boxes.

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