Strong Growth in Chinese Recycling Markets

A recently released technical market research report by BCC Research recycling markets in China will continue to grow at a strong clip over the next five years through 2013.

BCC Research is a leading publisher of market research reports and technical publications.

The report, Recycling Markets in China, reports that China processed 142.3 million metric tons of recyclable material last year. This figure is expected to increase to 158.6 million metric tons this year, and 244.8 million metric tons in 2013, for a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%.

Major market segments include metal, paper, plastic and tires. Metals such as aluminum, copper, iron and steel have the largest share of the market, accounting for 76.7 million metric tons of recycled materials in China in 2007. This should increase to 83.5 million metric tons in 2008 and 123.2 million metric tons in 2013, for a CAGR of 8.1%.

Recycled paper is the second largest segment, accounting for more than 48.6 million metric tons last year, and is estimated to reach 55.9 million metric tons this year. Going further, the segment is projected to post a CAGR of 10 percent through the next five years, bringing the total in 2013 to 90.0 million metric tons.

The next largest segment is recycled waste plastic, at 15.0 million metric tons in 2007. This segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent to reach 17.0 million metric tons in 2008 and roughly 27.4 million metric tons in 2013.

Reclaimed rubber and recycled tires are the smallest though fastest growing segment at 1.9 million metric tons in 2007 and as estimated 2.2 million metric tons in 2008. This should grow to 4.2 million metric tons at a CAGR of 14.0 percent.

China’s national economy has been experiencing sustainable, rapid development. During the period from 2003 to 2007, China’s Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual average rate of more than 8.0 percent. This creates many opportunities to international recycling enterprises seeking to expand their business abroad. Double-digit growth, insufficient self-supply ratio of various waste/scraps, and the absence of large domestic competitors are indicators of tremendous potential.

China’s national economy has been experiencing sustainable, rapid development. During the period from 2003 to 2007, China’s gross domestic product grew at an average annual rate of more than 8 percent. Over the past five year China’s GDP growth rates were 9 percent, 9.5 percent, 10.2 percent, 10.7 percent, and 11.4 percent, respectively.

Last year, China’s recycling industry continued to grow at a steady clip. Total recycled material reached 142.25 million metric tons, a 12.1 percent annual increase. The market offers many opportunities to international recycling enterprises seeking to expand their business abroad. Double-digit growth, insufficient self-supply ratio of various waste/scrap, and the absence of large domestic competitors are indicators of tremendous potential.

By 2013, China’s total recycled wastes are forecast to reach 244.7 million metric tons at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent during the period of 2008 to 2013. Advanced recycled tires (reclaimed rubber) are expected to grow at a faster rate over the forecast period, reaching a CAGR of 14 percent by 2013. In 2007, it is projected that the volume of recycled tires will reach 4.2 MMT.

In terms of volume, metals recycling and recovered fiber recycling were the top two segments in China’s recycling industry, accounting for about 54 percent and 34.2 percent, respectively, of the total industry last year. It is estimated that for this year total recycled metals and waste papers will reach 83.54 MMT and 55.88 MMT, respectively.

China’s 2007 recycling of waste plastics reached 15 million metric tons last year, a 25 percent from the prior year. The rapid growth was due to China’s high dependency on the imports of plastic resin, especially special and high-grade materials. This year, plastic recycling is expected to reach 17 MMT, up 13.3 percent year-on-year. In the next 5 years, it is estimated that the total volume will see a more modest level of 10 percent.

For tires, last year China’s output of reclaimed rubber from waste tires was 1.9 MMT, up 15.2 percent over the previous year. Growth within the tire-recycling segment is forecast to increase at a CAGR of 14 percent from 2008 to 2013.

This study is organized into six sections. Following the introduction, an executive summary provides the market forecast for China’s recycling industry through 2013. An industry overview in the next section provides definitions and important regulations for China’s recycling industry.

The ensuing section, Market by Products, covers the major segments of the industry: metal recycling (including aluminum, copper, iron, steel, and strategic metals), paper recycling, plastic recycling, e-waste recycling, and tire recycling. Each segment presents an analysis of the Chinese market, including an introduction and definitions, market dynamics, market share, and company profiles.¹

¹Recycling Today

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