Indonesia will allow the importation of recycled materials with up to 2% impurities, the government informed the U.S. embassy in Jakarta July 16. Adina Renee Adler, ISRI’s vice president of advocacy, notified ISRI’s Board of Directors at its July 16 meeting in Washington, D.C., to great applause. “We’ve been working on this for two years,” she says. In 2019, the Indonesian government told ISRI the impurities threshold would be 2% at the outset and transition to 0.5% in two years. Advocacy efforts to keep the higher limit included trips to Indonesia by ISRI staff and members to brief the government and conduct training on the ISRI specifications with testing, inspection, and certification provider Cotecna. The rule is expected to go into effect in September, the letter states.

“The importation of Non-Hazardous and Toxic Waste (hereafter referred as non-B3 waste) for industrial raw materials must be verified in the country of origin prior shipment to Indonesia, as stipulated in the Regulation of Minister of Trade of The Republic of Indonesia Number 83 of 2020,” the letter states. “The Joint Decree which was enter[ed] into force since May 27th, 2020, regulates that the impurity tolerance limit for paper and plastic non-B3 waste is 2% maximum. In that relation, the implementation of impurity provisions will be further regulated through the Regulation of the Director General of Foreign Trade Ministry of Trade of the Republic [of] Indonesia, which currently still [is] under discussion with relevant Ministries.”

The letter continues: “After the regulation goes into effect, KSO [KSO Sucofindo, the government agency responsible for overseeing its implementation, including pre-shipment inspections] shall implement and inform all technical guidance to Cotecna as the surveyor partner that will conduct verification in the country of origin,” the letter says.

Signed by Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana, Indonesia’s acting director-general of foreign trade, the letter was delivered to U.S. diplomats in Jakarta. “The U.S. embassy never gave up,” Adler explains. “Even when officials had to retreat to the United States during the onset of COVID-19, they were still doing the work remotely, and working with our advocates.”

Indonesian officials realized that unless they accepted the 2% limit, the country’s mills would pay higher prices for commodities in the highly competitive Asian market, says Leonard Zeid who traveled to Indonesia with ISRI staff to advocate. Zeid, who holds ISRI leadership positions including first vice-chair of the Paper Division, and who is executive director of brokerage and marketing at Midland Davis, says paper is one of the commodities that will benefit from Indonesia’s decision. “I know there are some countries that are talking about getting out of mixed paper, and pushing back on the specs,” he explains. “None of them are going to do that right now, because their [domestic] companies are having a hard enough time getting paper in.”

According to the impending regulations, only direct shipments from the supplier country to Indonesia are allowed. The exporter must be listed on documentation so the exporter can occasionally be verified. The exporter can only send from its own country. The Indonesian government may be considering prohibiting shipments from brokers, so that material can be sourced/exported only from processors.

ISRI will continue to provide updates to members as information is received.

Image courtesy of ISRI.

Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; marketing communications; and nonprofit advocacy.