End Plastic Waste Exports

Why: The social and environmental harms caused by plastic waste exports are clear. Actions to find markets for plastic waste materials collected in U.S. communities should not harm communities in other countries.  The only credible way to assure that the harms of plastic waste exports are stopped is to stop plastic waste exports altogether.

NEW! 2019 Analysis: Why is the U.S. Still Offshoring Plastic Waste Around the World?


2018 Analysis157,000 Shipping Containers of U.S. Plastic Waste Exported to Countries with Poor Waste Management in 2018

Background: Plastic waste has been exported and counted as “recycled” by industrialized countries for decades. Without documented traceability of the final fate of the plastic waste, bales of waste plastic collected from municipal and commercial recycling systems were shipped to buyers in foreign countries, many of which had no worker age and wage protections, no health and safety standards, few environmental regulations and no guarantee that the plastic waste would actually be recycled.

Reporters have shown that cheap plastic waste imports hurt the economics of creating plastic waste collection systems in countries that need them most. 

Request to U.S. Waste and Recycling Companies to End Plastic Waste Exports: We've written to 50+ U.S. waste and recycling companies asking them to stop exporting plastic waste because the harms have been proven and there is no final fate accountability of plastic waste shipments. Collaboration with Greenpeace USA, Plastic Pollution Coalition and Beyond Plastics. 

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The Last Beach Cleanup in the News:

Huff Post: America’s Biggest Trash Hauler Stops Shipping Plastic To Poor Countries

The Guardian: Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America's dirty secret

Waste Dive: Major recyclers deny still exporting plastic overseas

Waste Dive: Malaysia returning 3,300 tons of contaminated plastic scrap

Waste Dive: US stands as lone OECD opponent of Basel plastic amendment

U.S. Plastic Waste Export Analysis

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau Latest Update: Full Year 2019

UK Plastic Waste Export Analysis

Data Source: HMRC Data Latest Update: September 2019

Catalytic Initiatives to Move from Awareness of Plastic Pollution to Widespread Action and Achievement