This report is a detailed summary of the six reports in this study -- the three technical reports for BPA, PFAS, and BFRs -- and the three country situation reports on the plastic and plastic waste markets within China, Indonesia, and Russia.
Gothenburg, Sweden As governments prepare to discuss a global instrument to tackle plastic pollution, IPEN has published a number of studies showing significant obstacles for countries seeking to implement safe plastic circular economies. The studies reveal that countries are unable to handle large volumes of diverse plastics waste streams safely, and the reality that, without regulations requiring plastic ingredients to be labeled, countries are blindly allowing known toxic chemicals onto their markets in plastic products.
IPEN says the problem will only get worse based on current forecasts of huge growth in plastic and chemical production and use. It calls for public policies to end the recycling of hazardous chemicals in plastics, that poison the circular economy and threaten human health. IPEN says that plastics producers have dodged their responsibilities by producing plastic materials with toxic chemicals and should be financially liable for any harm caused through the life cycle of plastics.
IPEN studies reveal toxic plastic waste issues in China, Indonesia and Russia
To better understand the risks associated with plastics and the circular economy, IPEN investigated the situation in three significant global economies – China, Indonesia and Russia. It analyzed:
This executive summary encompasses three reports and provides context and overviews of the ways in which the chemicals studied poison recycling streams and stymie the promise of a healthy and environmentally sustainable circular economy.
This project relates to Sustainable Development Goals #3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Special thanks to IPEN's Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA) Regional Coordinator Dr. Olga Speranskaya and EECCA Regional Hub Eco-Accord for their important contributions to the development and finalization of the project.
Environmental Health Groups Celebrate the End to EU Allowance for Banned Flame Retardant Chemicals to Enter Recycling Streams & New Products
Gothenburg, Sweden The European Union (EU) has taken an important step towards cleaning up its recycling; it will no longer allow materials containing a class of toxic, globally banned flame retardants known as PBDEs to be recycled. Researchers had revealed that across Europe, alarming levels of toxic banned flame retardants and related chemicals, which originated largely from discarded electronics equipment, were contaminating the recycling stream and new consumer goods made from recycled plastics. Environmental health advocates applaud the EU’s decision and encourage the six remaining countries with PBDE recycling exemptions to follow suit.
The Prime Minister’s announcement and COAG support for a ban on waste exports should be cautiously welcomed and is long overdue following the embarrassing revelations of Australian illegal waste dumping in South East Asia. However, it seems certain that the announcement is designed to distract from a major government push to burn Australia’s waste in polluting incinerators: an industry it quietly supports. As noted by some media reports on the announcement, the government “was exploring using waste in energy plants to power Australian homes.”
IPEN has joined over 20 other networks and civil society organizations in sending a letter to representatives of producers, manufacturers and retailers in the European Union (EU) about EU plans for a circular economy.