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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

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circular economy

Ottawa, Canada – Only a small group of countries continues taking advantage of a loophole in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) that allow banned chemicals like toxic flame-retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in recycling. Canada is one of them. These toxic polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) flame retardant chemicals were banned globally many years ago.

IPEN and Arnika Press Release

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.