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Requirements on the Import & Export of Plastic Scrap
January 19, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
The webinar reported on the new international requirements for exports and imports of plastic recyclables or scrap. In May 2019, 187 countries decided to significantly restrict international trade in plastic scrap and waste to help address the improper disposal of plastic waste and reduce its leakage into the environment. As a result of these changes, adopted under a treaty called the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, international shipments of most plastic scrap and waste will be allowed only with the prior written consent of the importing country and any transit countries, effective January 1, 2021.
The new Basel provisions significantly limits the market for U.S. plastic recyclables. Because of a provision under the Basel Convention that prohibits trade between countries that have ratified the Convention (i.e., Parties) and non-Party countries like the United States, Basel Parties are not be able to trade most plastic scrap and waste with the U.S. absent a separate agreement between countries that meets certain Basel criteria. The U.S. has one such agreement that addresses trade in non-hazardous plastic scrap with member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the presentation discussed how plastic scrap is covered under that agreement.
- Rick Picardi, Chief of International Branch, U.S. EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery
- Lia Yohannes, International Policy Analyst, U.S. EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery