EU Bans Shipping Plastic Waste To Developing Nations From January 1

by : Cameron Frew on : 25 Dec 2020 11:15
Plastic Waste ThumbPA Images

The European Union’s new rules prohibiting non-recyclable plastic waste being shipped to developing nations will come into force on January 1, 2021.

As part of the endless battle against climate change and damage to the environment, plastic remained a hot topic. Every year, people across Europe are responsible for 25 million tonnes of plastic waste – however, less than a third of it is actually being recycled. Across the globe’s beaches, litter is around 85% plastic.


When plastic is sent away to the ‘Global South’ – an emerging term used for less developed, often poorer countries – it’s regularly mistreated, leading to mountains of landfill and ocean waste or incineration.

Waste disposalPA Images

The EU’s new regulations outline that only ‘clean plastic waste’ is permitted to be exported to non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. More stringent measures have also been introduced on other shipments of plastic waste.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said as per euronews: ‘These new rules send a clear message that in the EU we are taking responsibility for the waste we generate. This is an important milestone in fighting plastic pollution, transitioning to a circular economy, and achieving the aims of the European Green Deal.’

Plastic Waste PA Images

While progress is slow, the EU has vowed to take firm action with its plastic strategy, striving for all plastic in its nations to be recyclable by 2030, with a drastic reduction in the consumption of single-use plastics and microplastics.

With the UK recently reaching a trade deal with the EU in Brexit talks, and its full departure set for January 1, it won’t be subject to the new rules. However, legislation submitted to parliament earlier this year – known as the Environment Bill – covered similar areas with regards to plastic waste and exports.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Environment, EU, European Union, Now, Plastic


  1. euronews