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Southeast and East Asia

IPEN Southeast and East Asia

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Facing adverse publicity over its plastic waste exports and dumping in Southeast Asian countries, Australia announced in December 2020 that it had passed laws to ban waste exports including mixed plastic waste. Despite the ban, a loophole was created that allowed the export of RDF and PEF as a fuel ‘product’ which put it outside the scope of regulation of the Basel Convention on Hazardous Waste. The Basel Convention only regulates waste – not ‘products’. Australian NGO, National Toxics Network (now Toxics-Free Australia) exposed the loophole by releasing an international report in March 2022 funded by IPEN: for a toxics-free future, along with three Southeast Asian IPEN POs (Nexus3 Foundation - Indonesia, Consumers Association Penang - CAP – Malaysia and Ecowaste Coalition – Philippines) who also contributed reports on the regional RDF trade. See all of the reports at https://ipen.org/tags/srf. The Australian government now defines RDF/PEF as hazardous waste and on the relevant government website (https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/protection/waste/exports/plastic#toc_3 ) which states: Exports of PEF to be used as a fuel (other than in direct incineration) or other means to generate energy, fall under the Y48 category in Annex II of the Basel Convention and the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 (the Hazardous Waste Act) which gives effect to the Basel Convention in Australia. These types of exports therefore require a hazardous waste permit.
Congratulations to all the IPEN POs involved in this important campaign!

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