Canadian Plastics

Canada, U.S. sign deal to preserve status quo on plastic scrap exports

Canadian Plastics   

Canadian Plastics Recycling

The agreement was reached in October, ahead of new Basel Convention trade restrictions that will make it more difficult to ship scrap plastic from the U.S. to most countries beginning next year.

Canada and the U.S. have reached an agreement to continue allowing plastic recycling scrap to be traded between the two countries, ahead of new trade restrictions coming into effect next year that will make it more difficult to ship scrap plastic from the U.S. to most countries.

As part of an amendment that was approved last year to the Basel Convention, countries around the world are expected to start implementing tougher new scrap plastic import regulations on Jan. 1, 2021. But the U.S. is not a party to the Basel Convention, which means that, under Article 11 – which allows for special arrangements to be made between parties and nonparties regarding transboundary movements of hazardous wastes – the U.S. can make its own arrangements about how to handle its scrap plastic.

“The Arrangement affirms that Canada and the United States manage such waste in an environmentally sound manner, and intend to maintain measures to provide for the environmentally sound management of such waste and scrap in order to protect human health and the environment,” a Dec. 9 statement from Environment and Climate Change Canada said. “The transboundary movement of non-hazardous waste and scrap under the scope of the Arrangement are subject to all existing controls normally applied in commercial transactions.”

The agreement was entered into in October 2020, the statement added.


Both the U.S. and Canadian governments published texts of the agreement this month. The Canadian government’s statement is at this link.

Canada is the largest purchaser of U.S. scrap plastic, and imported almost 90 million pounds in the third quarter of this year.


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