Did you know that the US is one of the only countries in the world not to sign an international agreement aimed at stopping the practice of rich countries shipping their plastic waste to poorer countries under the guise that it will be recycled properly?
In 2019, 187 countries agreed to amend the rules of the Basel Convention (originally drafted in 1989) to include plastic waste in the list of items countries would refuse to allow to be imported.
The US and Haiti were two notable exceptions to this collaborative effort to stop dumping plastic waste on poorer countries.
Recent data shows that US shipment of plastic waste is actually increasing rather than declining.
“When more than 180 nations agreed last year to place strict limits on exports of plastic waste from richer countries to poorer ones, the move was seen as a major victory in the fight against plastic pollution.
But new trade data for January, the first month that the agreement took effect, shows that American exports of plastic scrap to poorer countries have barely changed, and overall scrap plastics exports rose, which environmental watchdog groups say is evidence that exporters are ignoring the new rules.”
“Though many American communities dutifully collect plastic for recycling, much of the scrap has been sent overseas, where it frequently ends up in landfills, or in rivers, streams and the ocean.”
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