U.S. could be outlier if U.N. clinches plastic waste pact

GENEVA (Reuters) – Countries are nearing agreement to tighten controls on trade in plastic waste, which would make it harder for leading exporter the United States to ship unsorted plastic to emerging Asian economies for disposal, campaigners said on Tuesday.

Global public outrage has grown at marine pollution, sparking demands for more recycling and better waste management.

Only 9 percent of plastic is recycled, environmental groups say.

Germany, the United States and Japan each exported more than 1 billion kilos of plastic waste last year, U.N. figures show. There is an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s seas, with 8 million tonnes added annually, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) says.

Officials from 187 countries taking part in UNEP negotiations are considering legally-binding amendments to the Basel Convention on waste that would regulate trade in discarded plastic. The United States has not ratified the 30-year-old pact.

“The dynamics are relatively positive because we see an overwhelming majority of countries supporting tighter control on plastic waste trade,” David Azoulay of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) told Reuters at the Geneva talks that end on Friday.

Read full article at www.reuters.com