Trade Body Says Proposal Would Not Stop Marine Litter

FEAD Slaps Down Norway’s Basel Convention Amendment on Plastic Waste

A proposal to amend the Basel Convention to change the current status of scrap plastics waste destined for recovery which has been tabled by Norway in a bid to combat marine litter has been cautioned against by FEAD.

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A proposal to amend the Basel Convention to change the current status of scrap plastics waste destined for recovery which has been tabled by Norway in a bid to combat marine litter has been cautioned against by FEAD.

According to the organisation, the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD), the proposal would do much more harm than good as it would thwart the development of an EU market for plastic waste.

The Basel Convention – shorthand for the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal – came into force in 1992 and imposes trade controls on hazardous wastes.

However, in June, the government of Norway submitted a proposal to the Basel Convention Secretariat that scrap plastics would be added to Annex II of the Basel Convention, a list of wastes for ‘special consideration’ under the Convention that requires notification by exporting countries and consent by importing countries prior to export, with the aim of addressing the marine litter crisis.

In a rebuff to the amendment, FEAD said that it is deeply concerned about the global scourge of marine plastic pollution. In a statement the organisation said:

“We firmly believe that this proposal is bound to miss its own objective: to combat marine litter, countries need to work on improving and expanding their respective waste management and particularly recycling capabilities, firmly combat illegal dumping.

“To reduce the amounts of refuse going into the world’s oceans we need an effective enforcement of waste management legislation, the expansion of waste treatment infrastructure, dissemination of information and best practice, as well as educational measures. 

“The Basel Convention currently consists of two main procedures for waste shipment which are called “Amber Listed” and “Green listed”. The government of Norway’s proposal would introduce new waste category for plastics under the Basel Convention.

“Presently, plastics for recycling and plastics for recovery fall under the same category ‘B3010’. This category does not require a notification procedure. Norway would like for plastics destined for recovery to fall under the “Y48” category which does require a notification procedure.

“Norway’s proposal could unfortunately hinder the development of an EU market for plastic waste, by raising the administrative burden and the costs of shipping plastic waste, or by making them simply impossible. Therefore, the new entries need to be clear to avoid confusion and varying interpretations.

“FEAD is also opposed to a system that restricts the use of the B3010 entry to plastic recycling under the green procedure, excluding plastic waste for recovery operations.”

In view of Norway’s proposal, FEAD has reacted with a position paper which calls for: 
A robust impact assessment since the Norwegian proposal could negatively impact plastic recycling and recovery

  • Complementing measures to stimulate European demand for recycled materials and investment in recycling capacities  (e.g. packaging and WEEE plastics)
  • Sufficient lead in time to allow new recycling infrastructure to be built
  • Clear commitment by the EU to limit delays for notified shipments
  • Consideration given to intra EU trade.

The full position paper can be found HERE

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