New Zealand part of global decision to restrict shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic waste to poorer countries

New Zealand was one of about 180 countries to agree to better regulate global trade in plastic waste to prevent environmental pollution.

The agreement to amend the Basel Convention means exporters of contaminated or hard-to-recycle plastic waste will require consent from the Governments of receiving countries before shipping.

This amendment will not prevent the trade of plastic waste but will incentivise trade in high-quality, sorted, clean plastic waste and help ensure that that materials are being shipped for the purposes of recycling.

After changes to international recycling markets in 2018, the New Zealand Government set up a taskforce to look at how our resource recovery system is functioning and how to bring more processing of recyclables onshore.

The Basel Convention amendment will come into force on 1 January 2021.