EU Member States should not commit to Norway plastic ban, says FEAD

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FEAD has expressed concerns regarding the adoption of the Norway proposal by the 180 governments in the Basel Convention, as it believes exporting mixed non-hazardous plastic waste should be maintained.  

The Federation supports preserving the current proceedings for the shipment of non-hazardous plastic waste, including mixtures of non-hazardous plastic wastes within the EU, EEA and OECD. 

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An objective of the Norway proposal to the Basel Convention amendment is to tackle marine pollution caused by plastic. However, FEAD has said that an automatic transfer of the rules foreseen in the updated Basel Convention to OECD and EU levels would not contribute anything to solving the problem of ocean littering. 

It believes that constraining the free movement of mixed plastic wastes within these areas could risk important progress being made with regards to the effective treatment of plastic. 

The OECD Decision on transboundary movements is a “transnational agreement that regulates the shipment of wastes between OECD countries”, but with the changes to the Convention, OECD members will have to decide by 9 July, whether to include these changes into its provisions for the shipment of waste.  

FEAD has argued that Member States of the EU should refrain from the implementation of the changes made to the Convention into the OECD Decision. With technical capabilities and prevalence of large capacities for the treatment of waste in OECD and EU countries, a restriction on the free movement “would impede the effective recovery and recycling of these”. 

The Federation’s reasons for keeping the current legal provisions on waste shipments include: 

At EU level: 

  • The EU legislation in the area of circular economy provides for some of the highest environmental standards in the area of plastic recycling and recovery 
  • Europe is at the forefront of technological progress when it comes to the recycling of plastic waste. The EU has one of the highest prevalence in terms of state-of-the-art sorting and recycling facilities worldwide, making it “the best place to conduct recycling activities” 
  • Trading mixed plastic wastes allows stakeholders in different Member States to participate in the recycling supply chain, using their different know-how and comparable advantages, resulting in better recycling performances       
  • The continued free movement of non-hazardous plastic waste in the EU will ensure that waste is treated where it makes the most sense both economically, and from the perspective of environmental protection 
  • By sustaining the free trade of wastes across Europe, the EU will also be able to retain and expand its competitive advantage in the area of plastics recycling.    

At OECD level:    

  • In line with the principles enumerated for Intra-EU shipments of waste above, there should therefore be no doubt that free shipments of waste, without the constraint of a notification, would best serve the purpose of the effective recycling and recovery of plastic wastes within the OECD.  

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