Since the start of the plastic scrap industry, PET has been a hot selling commodity. This is because the common plastic soda/water bottle (made with PET plastic) can be processed into recycled polyester staple fiber (PSF), which can then be manufactured into clothing.
The first thing to know about exporting and importing PET bottles to China is, like other plastic scrap, it must pass CCIC pre-inspection. As soda/water bottles usually have residual liquids such as leftover juices, soda, etc. Dirty plastic bottles are often smelly and attract many insects such as ants and flies, which is a definite â€œno-noâ€ in the inspectorâ€™s eyes. To properly export PET bottles to China, they are shredded (release liquids) and put through a quick water bath. To reduce the humidity inside the PET flakes, the semi-cleaned flakes are left out in the sun for drying before being compacted and baled for shipment.
If the PET bottles are not properly cleaned, that is, baled whole, they are usually sent to other countries for processing such as Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, etcâ€¦
On the China side of things, a proper environmental license is required for importing PET plastic bottles. In fact, the common import license requires the PET to be shredded or flaked. More often than not, buyers of PET flakes are end-users that own the environmental certificate. This allows the buyer to not only lower the costs for importing; it gives the buyer certain tax rebates. I have heard news that the Chinese government plans to release environmental import licenses for whole plastic bottles, however, it has yet to come out.
PET flakes are often categorized by type and color. The most expensive is clean, clear, dried PET flakes without labels or bottle caps. At the time of this article, this commodity sells for around $1100 USD per metric ton CNF China. The less desirable is clear PET flakes with labels and bottle caps which are made with PP or PE plastic. Once these arrive in China, they must go through additional processing before usage. The price for this is around $950 USD per metric ton CNF China. The above prices are based on very low, nearly no humidity and PVC content (or other plastics).
If you have any questions regarding AQSIQ, CCIC, or any logistics aspect of importing or exporting PET flakes to China, feel free to contact me (email – andrew[@]recycledplastic.com), I maybe able to help. I also have very good relations with several of the largest producers of polyester staple fiber, which are also some of the largest importer of this commodity.