Mixed plastic wastes have been moved from the ‘green’ list’ to the regime of the ‘amber list’. Outside or within EU, exports of plastic waste that are not perfectly sorted, recyclable, and uncontaminated will be subject to prior consent from exporting and importing countries as of January 1, 2021.

FEAD’s president, Jean-Marc Boursier reacted to the adoption of the proposal:

This international decision, of which we understand the motives but question the effectiveness regarding marine pollution, ignores that recycled wastes are traded on a global commodity market. Such a major drop in the exports of EU collected and sorted plastic waste will affect, in the short and in the long term, the existing separate collection and sorting systems and, finally, downgrade the EU’s recycling performances. In the absence of new markets compensating the lost exports, it will prevent new investments and jobs from being created. The private waste management industry is ready to invest in improving the quality of plastic recyclates only if there is a market for recycled plastics. Pull measures such as mandatory recycled content in products, reduced VAT, mandatory green public procurement, can create a demand shock. Imported products should also be covered by these rules. The EU has to urgently adapt its own intra-EU shipment rules so that shipments of non-hazardous plastic waste for recycling or for recovery remain under the current regime.”

Read about the consequences of this new trade rule and what is really needed in EU Waste Shipment Regulation here.