Waste industry bodies have stepped up their campaign to try to persuade the EU to reject restrictions on the export of plastic waste.
The European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD) has also called on global trade body the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to oppose the move.
Signatories to the Basel Convention, which regulates the transboundary movements of hazardous waste and its disposal, last month agreed to reclassify most plastic waste as needing consent from receiving countries before it may be exported.
FEAD warned that that blocking exports would eventually damage the EU’s recycling performance because material that could no longer be exported would likely be incinerated or landfilled.
It has now issued a position paper in which it urged the EU and OECD to maintain the status quo and reject changes to the convention.
FEAD said: “The objective of the Basel Convention amendment is to combat maritime pollution caused by plastic littering. However, an automatic transfer of the rules foreseen in the updated convention to the OECD and EU levels would not contribute anything to solving the problem of ocean littering.
“In fact, constraining the free movement of mixed plastic wastes within these areas could jeopardise important progress made with regards to the effective treatment of plastics.”
It said Europe was at the forefront of technological progress in plastic waste recycling, and the continued free movement of non-hazardous plastic waste in the EU will ”ensure that waste is treated where it makes the most sense both economically, and from the perspective of environmental protection”.