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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Toxic Recycling

Major Plastic Waste Producers Must Get Consent Before Exporting their Toxic Trash to Global South

Geneva, Switzerland — Today, 187 countries took a major step forward in curbing the plastic waste crisis by adding plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that controls the movement of hazardous waste from one country to another. The amendments require exporters to obtain the consent of receiving countries before shipping most contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastic waste, providing an important tool for countries in the Global South to stop the dumping of unwanted plastic waste into their country.

After China banned imports of most plastic waste in 2018, developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, have received a huge influx of contaminated and mixed plastic wastes that are difficult or even impossible to recycle. Norway's proposed amendments to the Basel Convention provides countries the right to refuse unwanted or unmanageable plastic waste.

With six other health and environment groups, IPEN has answered a letter by European Commissioner Karmenu Vella following a former NGO call on the EC to adopt strict and protective limits for PBDEs in articles and waste into the POPs Regulation, so that the EU will comply with its obligations stemming from the Stockholm Convention. In the letter, the NGOs provide additional arguments that invalidate European Commission (EC) claims. Read the NGO reply letter here.

A recent analysis (by IPEN, Arnika and other NGOs) of consumer products sold in Brazil, Canada, Cambodia, EU and Japan made from recycled plastics has revealed toxic flame-retardant contamination in some children's toys, hair accessories, office supplies, kitchen utensils and other plastic products.

Press Release

(Prague, Brussels): The European Parliament and Council decision on the reform of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) announced this week, hailed as protective for health, will cause more children to be exposed to hazardous flame-retardant chemicals associated with thyroid disruption and neurological deficits. The decision permits high levels of hazardous brominated flame retardants (PBDEs) that are in electronics waste, including those already banned by the Stockholm Convention, to be allowed in recycled plastics.  

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