Norway proposes stronger control of international trade in plastic wastes

Norway said Thursday it had put forward a proposal for stronger control of the international trade in plastic wastes.

The proposal will strengthen the mandate of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment said in a statement.

The proposal for amendment will make plastic waste streams that are not directly destined for a recycling plant subject to the Prior Informed Consent Procedure, which means that the importing country must issue a license before transport takes place.

The 14th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention takes place this week in Geneva. The Parties are expected to adopt a “plastic package” with several elements strengthening the convention on plastic wastes, including stronger control of different streams of plastic wastes as well as strengthened collaboration at the global level.

“The international trade in plastic wastes has developed into a large global multimillion industry, currently outside any international regulations. It has large impacts on the environment and human well-being,” Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen said.

“Our proposal will give the authorities a means to better control the sorts and amounts of plastic wastes entering their countries,” he said.

As China has been forcefully restricting its imports of solid wastes in recent years, the pressure on other countries to accept larger quantities of plastic wastes has increased. Only an estimated between 9-12 percent of plastic waste is recycled on a global level, according to the Norwegian statement.

Norway said its proposal would make it economically viable to ensure sorting plastic wastes in clean fractions that will facilitate recycling. This way the proposal can trigger the market for secondary raw materials as well.

In addition, Norway has also proposed the establishment of a partnership under the Basel Convention that will include representatives of governments, private sector and other relevant organizations.