Conservative manifesto proposes export ban on plastics to non-OECD countries

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Conservative manifesto for the General Election on 12 December 2019
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A Conservative government would ban the export of recycled plastics to non-OECD countries if it is elected on 12 December.

In the Conservative manifesto, it said: “We will continue to lead the world in tackling plastics pollution, both in the UK and internationally, and will introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging.

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“We will introduce extended producer responsibility, so that producers pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce, and boost domestic recycling.

“We will ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, consulting with industry, NGOs and local councils on the date by which this should be achieved.”

The UK is a signatory to the Basel Convention that means recycled materials such as plastics can be exported to other Basel Convention signatories.

Banning exports to non-OECD countries would effectively rule out any plastic being exported to South East Asia or India as these countries are not members of the OECD, but are Basel Convention signatories.

There are 34 OECD member countries at present, but only France, Germany, Poland and Turkey would be recognised as importers of plastics for reprocessing. While the Netherlands is an OECD member, much of the material going via there is on route to elsewhere.

The Conservative manifesto also proposes to set up an Office of Environmental Protection and a deposit return scheme “to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass”.

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