The Rethink Plastic alliance, a coalition of European organisations, has announced the launch of a petition urging EU policymakers to ban plastic waste exports.

The joint petition has been launched in collaboration with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement, Eko, and WeMove.

So far, more than 180,000 individuals have signed this petition to support the proposed ban on plastic waste exports to both the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) participant nations and non-OECD countries.

The petition is calling on the EU’s council and its environment ministers to implement a ban on plastic waste exports and ensure that all the countries can responsibly manage and dispose of their own domestic plastic waste.

Break Free From Plastic European coordinator Justine Maillot said: “What our petition shows is that there is strong support from the public to make plastic waste exports from the EU a thing of the past.

“We are raising a signal to EU countries and emphasising the vital role that a ban on EU plastic waste exports can play in mitigating global plastic pollution and ending the practice of waste colonialism.”

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The EU produces more plastic waste than it can recycle and a major portion of this unrecyclable plastic waste is exported to other countries, the alliance claimed.

As per the data shared by Rethink Plastic, the EU exported more than one million tonnes of its plastic waste in 2022, of which 51% went to lower-income nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, as well as 33% sent to Turkey.

EIA senior campaigner Lauren Weir said: “The negative impact of EU plastic waste exports has been clearly evidenced and a ban is in line with EU international obligations.

“This unethical practice should never have happened in the first place – let’s put an end to it now.”

The call comes ahead of the EU’s last trilogue meeting this month alongside the Global Plastics Treaty’s third round of negotiations.