Updated: Mar 26, 2020
by Trish Hyde
Not news: There is a $280b global plastic waste crisis sparked by China's ban on waste imports.
News: There is a push by countries impacted by plastic waste pollution to change the way plastic waste is traded.
Most of us don't monitor the movements in the Basel Convention (and rightly). But this 1992 inter-governmental agreement signed by 53 countries could hold the key to the post-China phase of the plastics circular economy.
In short, the Basel Convention is a truncated traffic light system for the trading of potentially hazardous materials. The green light means it is inter-country tradeable, and amber means that the receiving country needs to be informed and accept. Red is red - no passing go!
Up until now, countries have been able to freely trade waste plastic. The push for change is to have some plastic trading on the amber list.
Opponents say it is an administrative burden. Supporters of the change see it as a way to ensure that recipient countries consider the potential environmental impacts of a particular trade, before consenting.
This may be all well and good for large trading nations. But consider the situation of small traders, like our Pacific island neighbours. These countries are vulnerable to plastic pollution (much of which arrives on the tides) – yet the waste is in non-commercial volumes. For these nations, the ability to export plastic is central to keeping plastic in the circular economy.
Getting from policy to practical can be hard at times. That is why Plasticity forums – which foster business-led real world solutions - have grown in stature globally.
After 8 years on the road, on March 13, Plasticity is coming to Fiji – with a focus on plastic circular economy solutions that are commercially viable and relevant to the Pacific region.
Visit http://plasticity.global for more info