The European Commission has adopted new rules on the export, import and intra-EU shipment of plastic waste.
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:
These new rules send a clear message that in the EU we are taking responsibility for the waste we generate. The export of plastic waste will only be allowed under very strict conditions. The export of unsorted plastic waste to non-OECD countries will be completely banned. This is an important milestone in fighting plastic pollution, transitioning shifting to a circular economy, and achieving the aims of the European Green Deal.
You could say
Better late than never!
People should be aware we can not go in this way, using so much plastic and letting so much plastic being deposited in nature. Though we should also be careful where we want to go with our plastic waste. These new rules ban the export of plastic waste from the EU to non-OECD countries, except for clean plastic waste sent for recycling. Exporting plastic waste from the EU to OECD countries and imports in the EU will also be more strictly controlled.
In the last decade, uncontrolled trade in plastic waste has increased, damaging both the environment and public health. The new rules should end the export of problematic plastic wastes to third countries that often do not have the capacity and standards to manage it sustainably. This is also a key commitment of both the European Green Deal and the new Circular economy action plan. In parallel, today’s decision contributes to the EU plastics strategy, which aims to reduce plastic waste and encourage better sorting and recycling. The new rules will enter into force on 1 January 2021.