The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI; Washington, DC) released a statement in response to amendments adopted by the Basel Convention Conference of Parties (May 10, 2019), claiming that they “will impair the trade of recyclable plastics.” Intended to be an international response to plastic pollution in marine environments, “in reality, the measure will hamper the world’s ability to recycle plastic material, creating an increased risk of pollution,” said the "voice of the recycling industry."
ISRI released the following statement: “Recycling is part of the solution to the global issue of plastic pollution. In fact, the amendment does not restrict trade in scrap plastic commodities that meet the ISRI specifications. However, as written, the new listings for controlled plastics, and the requirement that exporters file ‘prior informed consent’ requests, will create an administrative burden that will make it harder for countries without recycling capacity to export collected plastics to countries with the infrastructure in place. It also does little to fight the illicit trade and poor handling of end-of-life plastics that are the real cause of pollution around the world.
The Conference of Parties also adopted Terms of Reference for a new Partnership on Plastic Waste, and ISRI intends to be an active participant in that partnership. Recycling works, and ISRI will share its expertise with the international community to demonstrate that recycling plastics in a responsible manner helps save the environment. Recycling that incorporates the highest standards in environmental, health, safety, and quality directs these valuable resources into the manufacturing supply chain, thereby generating both economic and environmental opportunities.”
ISRI represents 1,300 companies in 20 chapters in the United States and more than 40 countries that process, broker and consume scrap commodities. ISRI provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development.