On April 19, the 2019 China Recycled Copper Metal Industry Chain Summit was held in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province. The conference was hosted by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association Recycling Metal Branch. At this conference, experts from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) were invited to give a keynote speech on the environmental management of copper and aluminium scrap imports.
From July 1 2019, eight varieties of solid waste, including copper scrap, will be switched to the Catalogue of Solid Waste Restricted to Import as Raw Material, and an import licensing system will be implemented. The relevant solid waste import licence application will be strictly examined and approved in accordance with the relevant requirements of the Administrative Provisions on Environmental Protection for Importing Solid Wastes as Raw Materials (Guo Huan Regulation Soil  No. 6).
The MEE’s presentation to the summit focused on the basic requirements of applying for scrap import permits, the handling process and the work plan for the next step:
1. Applying for import permits for restricted solid waste
An enterprise applying for a licence to import solid waste in the restricted catalogue shall be actually engaged in processing and utilisation, and shall have a site, equipment and supporting pollution prevention facilities.
2. Application materials
The applicant shall submit an application to the MEE through the National Solid Waste Management Information System and, at the same time, shall submit the same information in a paper-based application.
3. The handling process
The provincial environmental protection bureau could start accepting scrap import applications from late May. The MEE will officially accept and approve import applications from July 1 this year.
4. The work plan for the next step
In the next step, the environmental protection departments will gradually reduce the volume of solid waste imports and will strive to achieve zero imports of solid waste by the end of 2020.
In the meantime, they will actively co-operate with relevant departments to accelerate the formulation of national standards for copper, aluminium and other solid waste recycling, and further clearly distinguish recycled copper and aluminium from copper and aluminium scrap. Once the standards are released, the high-quality recycled copper and aluminium as raw materials that meet the standard requirements will not be managed according to imports of solid waste, but will be included in the import management system applying to general raw materials.
The MEE will set the standard of recycled copper and aluminium that it is permitted to import some time in October this year.