Basel changes may have ‘bigger impact’ than China ban

Posted on  May 14, 2019

by Colin Staub

Photo credit: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

Photo credit: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

The move last week by 187 governments to alter a global waste treaty will mean further uncertainty for U.S. scrap plastic exports.

Major plastics-related changes to the Basel Convention, first proposed by the government of Norway last year, were approved by all countries that have ratified and are party to the treaty. The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

The Basel Convention, which went into effect in 1992 and is supported by the United Nations, has the goal of limiting global trade in hazardous wastes, especially between developed and developing countries. The United States has signed but not ratified the agreement, meaning it was not involved in last week’s discussions.

What the recent Basel shifts mean for recycled plastic exporters is not yet entirely clear, but experts predict a significant amount of disruption.