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Ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries

Last updated 3 weeks ago

We will ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, consulting with industry, NGOs and local councils on the date by which this should be achieved.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.43

Our verdict

  • This is a commitment to ban the export of polluting plastic waste to countries outside of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • In January 2020, the government introduced the Environment Bill which, if passed, will enable the introduction of the regulations required to fulfil this promise.  In January 2021, it was reported in the media that the government was reneging on this policy promise, but a government response claimed it remained committed to the ban and that work is under way to make it law. In May 2021, a Greenpeace investigation found that 40% of the UK’s plastic waste exports are being sent to Turkey, where much of it is illegally dumped or burned.  Following that report, there have been calls for the Environment Bill to be extended to ban the export of plastic waste to all countries.
  • Concerns over policy dilution may be justifiable, but with the Environment Bill making its way through Parliament, for now this policy is ‘in progress’.

There's always room for debate

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