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US plastic waste exports break new UN rules

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Recent customs data obtained reveals that US exporters, global shipping lines, and the US government are all violating the new 2021 global rules established by the Basel Convention, designed to prevent indiscriminate dumping and pollution arising from plastic waste trade in developing countries.

Mixed and contaminated plastic wastes, or those containing PVC, that are routinely collected from residents in municipalities, small businesses, and recyclers, and which have in the past been freely traded are meant to now be strictly controlled.

Despite the new rules starting in January 2021, the first sight of the 2021 data shows that such exports to non-OECD countries (developing) have not fallen. Some, such as exports to Malaysia, have actually increased.