European Union bans Export of Plastic Waste to poor countries

The European Union recently announced that it is to completely ban the exports of unsorted plastic to poor countries. The new rules of the European Union will amend the 2006 Waste Shipment Regulation. The new rules are to ban the exports to less industrialised nations outside OECD.


The new rules are a part of the Green Deal of European Union to establish a circular economy. It allows plastic waste, hazardous and hard to recycle waste to be exported to OECD countries. However, the new rules will allow the export of plastic waste only to countries that intends to recycle. Also, the new rules allow the European Union countries to export clean, non-hazardous waste to any non-OECD countries. These new rules have been imposed after China banned plastic import in 2018. The new rules have been imposed based on 1989 Basel Convention.


The plastic waste of European Union fell from three million tonnes in 2016 to 1.9 million tonnes in 2019. Around 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste has been generated in European Union since 1950. Of this only 12% has been incinerated, less than 10% has been recycled and 80% has been discarded or refilled.

Basel Convention 1989

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed in 1989. The convention was signed to reduce the movement of hazardous waste between the nations. As of October 2018, 186 states have signed the convention including European Union. United States and Haiti have signed the convention but not ratified it.

India is a party of Basel Convention, but is yet to ratify it.

Main principles of Basel Convention

  • To reduce transboundary movement of hazardous wastes
  • To treat and dispose hazardous waste as close as possible to their source of generation
  • To minimise hazardous waste generation at the source

Green Deal of European Union

It is a commitment under 2015 Paris Agreement. The deal is a 100 billion Euro plan to achieve Net Zero Green house Gas emission by 2050.




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