The European Commission banned the export of all hazardous and non-recyclable plastic waste to developing countries outside the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development from January 1.
The EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, has hailed the move as “an important milestone in fighting plastic pollution.”
Under the new rules, there will be stricter conditions for exporting clean, non-hazardous waste to non-OECD nations. EU exports within the 37-nation OECD will also be subject to prior approval by both the importing and the exporting nations.
The change in regulations is an integral part of the EU’s Green Deal initiative, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels by at least 55 percent by 2030.
In 2019, a total of 1.5 million tons of the EU’s plastic waste was exported – mainly to Turkey, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. The waste sent to these countries often ends up in landfills or the ocean.