U.S. Challenges Plastic Waste Trade Limits

Plastic Waste Trade

The Organization for Economic Cooperation (“OEC”), which represents the world’s 36 richest countries, has proposed a policy which would impose limits on trade of plastic recyclables.  The policy, which is slated to take effect next year, is intended to restrict the volume of plastic recyclable materials that can be shipped from richer countries to third world countries where more lax regulation of the waste industry could result in releases of the plastic materials into the environment.  The United States favors a position of maintaining the status quo which allows for relatively free trade in plastic scrap which it argues will boost plastic recycling.  Opponents claim that the U.S.’s efforts to limit regulation of plastic recyclables is backfiring by causing greater uncertainty with regard to potential restrictions on exports of plastic recyclables.

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