Waste Plastic Policy From Basel Convention

Dec 15, 2020

187 countries recently signed an agreement, agreeing to "restrict plastic waste trade" into the "Basel Convention"

Geneva, Switzerland-Today, 187 countries have taken an important step forward in curbing the waste plastic crisis. Plastics have been added to the Basel Convention, which aims to control the flow of hazardous waste from one country to another . The amendment requires exporters to obtain the consent of the receiving country before transporting most of the contaminated, mixed or non-recyclable waste plastics, providing an important theoretical basis for stopping dumping of unwanted plastic waste to developing countries.

After China banned the import of most plastic wastes in 2018, developing countries, especially those in Southeast Asia, have flooded with polluting, mixed, and even unrecyclable waste plastics. Therefore, Norway has proposed a proposed amendment to the Basel Convention, which stipulates that countries have the right to reject waste plastics that are unnecessary or cannot be disposed of.

The amendment reflects a consensus that has become increasingly clear throughout the world, namely, the harmful effects of plastics and waste plastics trade. Most countries expressed support for the proposal, and more than one million people around the world signed public petitions at Avaaz and SumofUs. However, even with this overwhelming support, there are some dissenters who oppose the inclusion of plastics in Annex II of the Basel Convention. These include the world's largest exporter of waste plastics-the United States, a well-known petrochemical industry lobby-the American Chemistry Council (ACC), and a business association mainly composed of waste traders-the American Waste Recycling Industry Association ( ISRI). Since the United States is not a party to the Basel Convention, it will be prohibited from trading in waste plastics with developing countries that are not part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development among the parties to the Basel Convention. This means that in Asia, the United States can only export plastic waste to South Korea and Japan (South Korea and Japan are OECD member countries).

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