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Coalition of Environmental Groups Oppose Flawed Plastic Pollution Bill Being Voted on in U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Today

Coalition of Environmental Groups Oppose Flawed Plastic Pollution Bill Being Voted on in U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act. A group of 38 environmental organizations have banded together to urge the Committee members to reject this flawed piece of legislation and demand meaningful action. (See the joint letter below that was sent to the members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.)

Local governments and businesses across the country are working hard to reduce the use of plastic as evidenced by the hundreds of new local laws that ban plastic bags, straws and polystyrene. The European Union has adopted a new law banning ten major sources of plastic pollution. In stark contrast, The Save Our Seas 2.0 bill, which is strongly supported by the chemical industry, perpetuates the continued production of single-use packaging and meekly attempts to clean up plastic pollution after it has entered rivers, lakes and oceans.

“The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act does virtually nothing to require a reduction in the production of plastics while propping up an anemic approach to recycling. Congress can and must do much better on this urgent matter,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and founder of Beyond Plastic, adding, “We cannot solve the climate change crisis without addressing the production and disposal of plastics, particularly with the petrochemical industry’s ambitious plans to build new ethylene cracker facilities to turn ethane, a byproduct of hydrofracking, into new plastic. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has been a champion on climate change issues and it is puzzling to see him sponsoring this bill which would lock us in to further fossil fuel production.”

“The continued reliance on single-use plastics has resulted in irreversible consequences for our air, water, and land, not to mention the serious effects on human health. We need to see real change at the federal level to effectively address this crisis by focusing on reducing the overall production and consumption of plastics, not cleaning it up after the fact,” said Shilpi Chhotray, Senior Communications Officer at Break Free From Plastic in Oakland, California.

Until yesterday, the bill promoted risky and false solutions to the plastic pollution crisis including incineration, gasification, and pyrolysis of plastics. Significant contributors to climate change and air pollution, these approaches are harmful to both the environment and public health. Expanding the role of these burning- and chemical-based approaches to the management of our ever-growing plastic pollution crisis will make it even harder to reduce the usage and production of single-use and other unnecessary plastic. It is unclear if the pro-burning provisions will be added back in to the bill after the committee vote.

“Instead of focusing on reducing plastics, the Save Our Seas Act had promoted false solutions like incineration that poison our communities and drive up the greenhouse gas emissions that are killing our oceans. This bill is a swing and a total miss,” said Denise Patel, U.S. and Canada Program Director at Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

“By focusing on waste management, this legislation fails to address the climate, health, and environmental impacts of fracking, cracking, and manufacturing plastic,” said Steven Feit, a staff attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “Without dealing with the problem of plastic production, this legislation risks further entrenching a linear system of plastic production which is damaging in all its stages.”

Per a recent report by CIEL and partners, Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, emissions from U.S. plastic incineration in 2015 accounted for an estimated 5.9 million metric tons of CO2e. If growth in plastic production and incineration continue as predicted, the conservative estimate for cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 will be over 56 gigatons CO2e, or between 10-13 percent of the total remaining carbon budget.

The section of the Senate bill which requires a “Study on Options to ADVANCE Technologies For Converting Plastic Waste to Chemicals, Feedstocks, and Other Products” will not be voted on in the EPW committee on September 25, 2019 but may be back again in the next version of the bill.

“We sincerely hope that incineration, gasification, and pyrolysis options are not falsely presented as solutions to the plastic pollution crisis in any future versions of the bill,” said Chhotray.

CONTACT
Judith Enck, founder of Beyond Plastics – 518.605.1770, JudithEnck at Bennington dot edu
Steven Feit, staff attorney at Center for International Environmental Law – 202.742.5832, sfeit at ciel dot org

 

 

Opposition Letter to Save our Seas Legislation

Opposition Letter to Save our Seas Legislation

September 24th, 2019

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
And
Senator Dan Sullivan
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510

Re: Opposition to the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, Senate bill 1982, Senate bill 2260, Senate bill 2364, Senate bill 2372

Dear Senator Whitehouse and Senator Sullivan:

The undersigned are writing to oppose the “Save our Seas 2.0 Act”. While we appreciate your attention to the important issue of plastic pollution, this legislation does not provide a comprehensive approach to solving the growing problem of plastic pollution and certain provisions of the bill will make the problem worse.

We need Congress to pass legislation that reduces the generation of plastic, particularly single-use plastic packaging. This bill does not do that.

The public and a growing number of businesses are focused on the impacts of the entire lifecycle of plastic, from production, including fossil fuel extraction, to manufacturing, use, disposal – especially plastic incineration – and pollution in the environment. These impacts include significant and growing greenhouse gas emissions, toxic health impacts, plastic and microplastic pollution, degradation of water quality, damage to fish and wildlife, and the severe and too often unnoticed environmental justice impacts in communities where petrochemical facilities are sited. That is why hundreds of local governments, many in bi-partisan fashion, have adopted laws that ban or limit a range of plastic packaging such as plastic bags, polystyrene containers, plastic straws, balloons, plastic utensils and other single-use plastics. Beyond bans, we need a national law that reduces plastic generation, not just end-of-pipe approaches to manage plastic waste once it has been produced.

The primary focus of legislation addressing the plastic pollution crisis should focus on reducing the manufacturing and use of plastics – not attempts to clean it up after the fact. Your legislation directs a number of federal agencies to do studies, launches a Genius prize, and establishes a new Foundation housed at NOAA. While these efforts may have some positive impact, the bill ultimately approaches the issue as one of waste management, not overproduction of plastic, and risks further entrenching the systems that produce plastic rather than dislodging them. In particular, sections 305 (Study on repurposing plastic waste in infrastructure) and 306 (study on options to advance technologies for converting plastic waste to chemicals, feedstocks, and other useful products) are likely to expand markets for plastic waste which will then rely on a steady stream of plastic to stay viable. Many of these false solutions, such as incineration, waste-to-fuel, and pyrolysis approaches, are dangerous in their own right, and expanding their footprint on the American economy will only make it harder to phase out single-use and unnecessary plastic. We understand that the section of the bill dealing with incineration, gasification, pyrolysis of plastics has been removed from this bill but may be again added at a future date.  We applaud it being removed and urge you to keep that section out of all future bills.

This is particularly concerning when considered alongside the enormous investments being made by the petrochemical industry in new facilities to produce ever more virgin plastic. According to the American Chemistry Council, over $204 billion in capital investment have been announced for 334 new or expanded facilities linked to US shale gas. Most of this investment is in facilities to produce plastic or plastic precursor chemicals. Industry plans to expand plastic production will overwhelm any efforts to strengthen the US recycling system.

This expansion is a climate and environmental justice crisis. The climate crisis cannot be solved without dealing with plastic production. A recent report calculated that, if trends in the plastic industry continue as planned, the plastic lifecycle could account for up to 13% of the global carbon budget just by 2050. Moreover, communities living close to facilities which produce and incinerate plastic, disproportionately low-income communities and communities of color, will be exposed to dangerous levels of air toxins while massive amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.

We the undersigned organizations request that you withdraw this bill or fundamentally change it so it focuses on reducing the generation of plastic, not the continued generation of plastic that inevitably damages the marine environment and then adds a new layer of problems from the air pollution at the gasification or incineration or pyrolysis or waste to fuel facilities that are not viable environmental or economic options.

The American people are actively working on the perils of plastic pollution and taking action at the local and state level. It would be a shame not to capitalize on the growing public interest in this issue and pass federal legislation that does not effectively address this problem.

We would be happy to discuss these concerns with you at your convenience. Please contact Judith Enck, founder of Beyond Plastics at 518.605.1770 or JudithEnck@Bennington.edu to arrange a time to discuss this matter.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

    1. Judith Enck, Beyond Plastics, Bennington, Vermont
    2. Steven Feit, Center for International Environmental Law, Washington, DC
    3. Jackie Nuñez, The Last Plastic Straw, Santa Cruz, California
    4. Harith Wickrema, Island Green Living Association, St. John, Virgin Islands
    5. Young Grguras, Post-landfill Action Network, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    6. Ellie Cohen, The Climate Center, Santa Rosa, California
    7. Elise Semonian, Town PLanner, San Anselmo, California
    8. Anna Cummins, The 5 Gyres Institute, Los Angeles, California
    9. Heather Trim, Zero Waste Washington, Seattle, Washington
    10. Stiv Wilson, Story of Stuff Project, Berkeley, California
    11. Leslie Tamminen, 7th Generation Advisors, Los Angeles, California
    12. Denise Patel, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, New York, New York
    13. Yvonne Taylor, Seneca Lake Guardian, a Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate, Watkins Glen, New York
    14. Jon Phillips, Co-Chair, Keep-It-Greene, Catskill, New York
    15. Mark Lichtenstein, Embrace Impatience Associates, Mexico, New York
    16. Debby Lee Cohen, Cafeteria Culture, New York, New York
    17. Craig Williams, Kentucky Environmental Foundation,  Berea, Kentucky
    18. Tricia Cortez, Rio Grande International Study Center, Laredo, Texas
    19. Christopher Chin, The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education, Oakland, California
    20. Paul Burns, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Montpelier, Vermont
    21. David Bezanson, Ph.D., 350, Silicon Valley, California
    22. Dianna Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Los Angeles, California
    23. Patricia Wood, Grassroots Environmental Education, Port Washington, New York
    24. KT Andresky, Breathe Free Detroit, Detroit, Michigan
    25. Bradley M. Campbell, Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts
    26. Miriam Gordon, UPSTREAM, San Francisco, California
    27. Theresa Landrum, Original United Citizens of Southwest Detroit, Detroit, Michigan
    28. Pamela Carter, 48217 Community and Environmental Health Organization, Detroit, Michigan
    29. Mary Buxton, 350, Silicon Valley, California
    30. Nicole Kemeny, 350, Silicon Valley, California
    31. Shilpi Chhotray, Break Free From Plastic, Oakland, California
    32. Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Concerned Health Professionals, New York, New York
    33. Robert Nuñez, Californians Against Waste, Sacramento, California
    34. Tracy Frisch, Clean Air Action Network, Glens Falls, New York
    35. Joanie Steinhaus, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Galveston, Texas
    36. Charlene Lemoine, Waukesha County Environmental Action League, Waukesha, Wisconsin
    37. Melissa Cooper Sargent, Ecology Center, Detroit, Michigan
    38. Lynn Hoffman, Eureka Recycling, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Vietnam-Strictly control the import of used goods, resolutely re-export consignments of imported scrap in violation of regulations

Vietnam-Strictly control the import of used goods, resolutely re-export consignments of imported scrap in violation of regulations

On August 22, at a meeting with representatives of 11 ministries and branches to discuss measures to strictly control the import of used goods and re-export of imported scrap cargo violating regulations, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan suggested that ministries and agencies focus on reviewing regulations on used goods banned from import and goods allowed to be conditionally imported; Strictly handle organizations and individuals that import used goods on the list of goods banned from import or import used goods that do not meet the prescribed requirements.

Reporting at the meeting, Mr. Hoang Van Thuc, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Environment Administration, said that implementing the Directive No. 27 / CT-TTg of the Prime Minister, last timeThe General Department of Customs has applied measures to remotely prevent shipments of imported scrap that do not meet the provisions of Vietnamese law; The batch of imported scrap cargo without information of the goods owner or the owner of the goods that are not on the list of organizations and individuals that have been issued with a certificate/certificate of eligibility for environmental protection in import of scrap shall not are brought into the territory of Vietnam. In cases where imported scrap shipments of establishments that have been issued with Certification are lowered into ports and determined not to meet QCVN, the importing establishments must fulfill the responsibility for re-exporting the goods lots. With these regulations, after September 17, 2018, basically restricting the backlog of goods that no shippers can receive.

Mr. Hoang Van Thuc, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Environment Administration spoke at the meeting

By the end of June 2019, for the re-export of violated scrap shipments, which are ineligible to be imported into Vietnam, the local Customs authorities have asked shipping lines to transport them. out of Vietnam territory 503 containers. Including 289 containers of plastic scrap, 106 containers of paper scrap, 98 containers of iron and steel scrap and 10 other scrap containers. In the coming time, the Vietnam Environment Administration will coordinate with ministries, branches, and localities to continue handling the outstanding containers at ports in the territory of Vietnam.

The representative of the General Department of Customs said that, in order to completely handle the remaining containers, it is necessary to classify scrap according to criteria and determine that waste will require goods owners to transport out of the territory. However, shipping lines’ re-export operations are very slow. The General Department of Customs proposes that if shipping lines are delayed in transporting shipments that do not meet environmental protection requirements out of the Vietnamese territory, the Ministry of Transport shall not grant further permits to shipping lines.

According to the representative of the Ministry of Public Security, in order to strictly control the import of used goods and re-export the imported consignments of scrap, the ministries should unify to build and perfect the system of documents. legal documents, avoiding individuals and units taking advantage of loopholes to violate the law on the import of scrap and goods not meeting environmental regulations; equipped with quick inspection facilities for customs authorities to control at ports; mechanisms for agencies to coordinate closely to minimize loopholes legally.

The Ministry of Science and Technology proposes that it is necessary to use the exact word radioactive waste and not radioactive waste; Amendment of the standards referring to radioactive scraps more suitable to reality should be specified in the form of using specialized tools for on-site control.

Overview of the meeting

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said that the positive signal was initially recorded when the local customs authorities asked shipping lines to move out of the territory. Vietnam more than 500 containers. However, the concerned ministries and branches need to consider in order to quickly handle, control as well as limit the negative impacts of scrap cargo shipments that fail to meet environmental requirements; resolutely re-export, do not let unsuitable shipments of scrap enter Vietnam; promote communication and propagation activities in order to prevent violations committed by individuals and organizations.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment requests the Ministry of Finance to review and provide a list of organizations and individuals importing scrap which violates the regulations but fails to carry out re-export procedures and send to the agency certifying the full conditions. to import scrap as raw production materials for consideration and deprivation of the right to use certification. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall assume the prime responsibility in studying the experiences of a number of countries in the region in applying international diplomatic experience, practice and precedent to re-export waste goods and goods in violation of regulations. law on environmental protection

In order to strictly control the import of used goods, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment also requests the Ministries based on their assigned functions and tasks to focus on reviewing the regulations on used goods. ban on the import, goods allowed for conditional import; clarify responsibilities and strictly handle organizations and individuals that import used goods on the list of goods banned from import or import used goods which do not meet the prescribed requirements.

Based on the regulations on the import of used goods, the enforcement, inspection, supervision, and control of imported goods are within the scope and authority of the customs authorities, therefore, it is necessary to review them. measures to control and control risks and propose measures to strengthen strict control in the clearance of used goods. At the same time, within the management of the ministries, it is necessary to develop sanctions to handle violations of the regulations on import and ban on the import of used goods.

Article from Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Environmental activists:  Call for the Indonesian government to tighten up plastic waste  importation and its contaminants

Environmental activists: Call for the Indonesian government to tighten up plastic waste importation and its contaminants

Jakarta, 27 August 2019 – In 2017-2018 imports of plastic waste by Indonesian plastic and paper recycling companies increased dramatically, more than 150% compared to previous years. Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, has returned more than 80 containers of mixed plastic waste mainly from the United States, which entered their country. Indonesia must seriously stop importing plastic waste and plastic-contaminated paper and immediately review its import policy on plastic waste. Environmental activists recommend the Indonesian government to follow China’s steps in setting contaminants in imported waste by 0.5% for two years.

Earlier this year, Indonesia returned more than 50 plastic waste containers imported by several plastic and paper factories in Batam, Banten, Karawang, Tangerang and Surabaya. Observations conducted by environmental activists over the past six months have shown an increase in air pollution from burning plastic waste and in several complaints as well as conflicts in the community due to contamination from unwanted imported plastic waste. With the encouragement of reports from civil society and residents in the vicinity of informal landfill sites, a wave of re-exports of more than 350 imported plastic waste containers this month underscores the seriousness of Indonesia in
the eyes of the world.

Indonesia produces around 9.5 million tons of plastic waste annually. The import of plastic waste in 2018 shows a trading volume of approximately 320,000 tons with a value of about USD 90 million. However, observations by environmental activists in the field indicate that around 20-40% of the imported waste is not appropriately managed and disposed of in the environment.

“WALHI appreciates the fast action of the Customs to send back more than 350 imported waste containers containing pollutants, including B3 (toxic, hazardous substances) to the country of origin. For the sake of people’s safety and the environment, the President needs to support this performance in the form of total cessation of waste shipments to Indonesia. That way, Indonesia has the capacity and a reliable mechanism to prevent the entry of dangerous contaminants into the country,” said Nur Hidayati, WALHI’s National Executive.

“Imported plastic that cannot be recycled, mostly will be burned. Burning plastics spread toxic fumes and leaves ashes with high dioxin concentration that enters the food chain and the lungs of residents, especially children,” said Yuyun Ismawati, from Nexus3/BaliFokus Foundation. “Some additives used in all types of plastics are recognized as carcinogenic chemicals and are banned in developed countries. Recycling plastic that contains B3 into another product means recycling the poison. Imported plastic should be included in the LarTas (Limited Ban) list so that Indonesia can control imports of non-B3 waste more tightly.”

“Almost all of the paper companies that we monitored misused their import licenses because they’ve imported plastic-contaminated paper scrap and trade it to the public. Even worse, they dump it on the riverbanks and former sand mining sites,” said Prigi Arisandi from Ecoton.
“Low-value plastic scrap waste generally burned and sorted recycled waste discharged into the environment without further treatment. Liquid waste from 12 paper industries in East Java Province that imported paper scrap also released microplastic into the Brantas River. As a result, the raw water source of the water supply company (PDAM) and 80% of the Brantas River fish samples contained microplastics in their guts. Burning unwanted imported plastic waste for tofu factory as fuel, and regarded this as the solution to manage wastes, created new problems. Released toxic gas containing dioxin and furan, causing health problems for the community, especially children, with the risk of respiratory illnesses, miscarriages, decreased intelligence, and even cancer,” explained Prigi.

“The direction of reforming the importation policy of waste and or scrap must be directed at stopping the import of waste and or scrap waste. The initial step to remove barriers to law enforcement in terms of the definition of waste and or scrap. The clarity of the definition is the beginning needed to prevent the import of waste or rubbish,” said Fajri Fadhilah from ICEL. “Furthermore, the President must ensure the alignment of rules on the importation of waste and or scrap among various types of legislation. Additionally, sanctions against violations of imported waste and or scrap must be done openly to the public.”

In some areas, we found that entrepreneurs from China became investors or partnered with local people to establish home business plastic recycling whose licensing was in doubt. Local governments must monitor and evaluate the existence of a home business plastic recycling in their respective areas.

In various places in Jabodetabek and East Java, AZWI activists also found land contaminated with remnants of various sizes of plastic, whether burned or not, polluting the soil, agricultural land, and water bodies. Cleaning toxic contaminants from plastic pollution is not easy, not cheap, and requires the seriousness of the government.

Microplastic and plastic fiber is also commonly found in fish in Indonesia, in bottled drinking water, in salts, and even in human feces. The state must guarantee the right of citizens to live in a clean and healthy environment.

AZWI Recommendations for the Government of the Republic of Indonesia:

1. Reviewing policies and regulations regarding the importation of waste and paper, especially plastics and paper scraps, to limit contaminants or contamination of imported plastic/paper waste and scrap by 0.5%;

2. Limiting certain types of imported plastics scrap, and only in the form of pellets, or only require minimal treatment/processing and/or ready to be used for production, and gradually stopping all imports of plastic waste;

3. Prohibiting importing producers from transferring or trading imported waste to anyone;

4. Importing producers must be responsible for cleaning up plastic pollution caused by changing hands, being sold and being ‘donated’ to other parties and the public, including checking the levels of dioxins and furans in the air, soil and water, as well as clearing the land from the ash from burning plastic waste and managing it in accordance with hazardous waste management regulations;

5. Reviewing the permits of companies importing plastics and paper parlors, whether according to the licenses given and their practices do not pollute the environment;

6. Setting limits, at the end of 2020 as the final limit for the import of dirty plastic waste into Indonesia, following the Basel COP-14 amendment agreement in early May 2019;

7. Limiting the import volume of scrap only to a maximum of 50% of the currently installed/available factory capacity;

8. Imports of non-hazardous waste must be included in the List of Limited and Prohibitions (LarTas) and removed from the Customs Green Line;

9. Prohibit the use of hazardous materials as additives in plastic production and plastic recycling;

10.Information about the source of plastic wastes and its potential for recycling must be available in an integrated manner to meet the need of the domestic industry. Also, public information related to import quota data, importer companies and the realization of the amount of plastic and paper waste imports must be accessible to the public;

11.The quota for importing plastic waste must be limited, the production and consumption of domestic plastic packaging must also be drastically reduced;

12.Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) must be implemented and monitored;

13.To reduce the risk of report manipulation, surveyor companies that verify the import and export of B3 and non-B3 waste must be added and not monopolized by PT Surveyor Indonesia and Sucofindo;

14.Strictly prohibit the burning of plastic waste and avoid incineration technology to treat plastic waste to prevent and reduce the pollution of dioxins which found in chicken eggs and soil at disposal sites; and

15.Affected communities must get free medical examinations and treatment from
polluting companies and importers of waste.

AZWI (Alliance Zero Waste Indonesia) is a joint organization that works to encourage the implementation of the zero waste concept correctly with programs and initiatives that support the concept of waste management hierarchy, material life cycle, and sustainable production and consumption. AZWI was initiated by BaliFokus / Nexus3 Foundation, YPBB Association, Indonesian Society of Plastic Bag Diet Association, WALHI National, Greenpeace Indonesia, Indonesia Center For Environmental Law (ICEL), Ecoton
Foundation, Zero Waste Community, and Bali Center for Environmental Education (PPLH) Bali.

Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI) is an environmental organization in Indonesia located in 28 provinces and has 473 members of the organization throughout the territory of Indonesia. Walhi works at the grassroots to advocate environmental cases (www.walhi.or.id)

Ecoton is a non-profit organization that aims to promote environmental justice for present and future generations, especially in sustainable wetland management.

ICEL is an independent non-governmental organization for environmental law, involved in advocacy and community empowerment

BaliFokus/Nexus3 an Indonesian non-governmental organization working to improve the community’s capacity, quality of life and advocating a toxics-free environment together with all stakeholders in sustainable way. www.balifokus.asia

For immediate release
This is AZWI’s official release dated 27 August 2019 at 17:00 Western Indonesia Time.

Resource persons:

Yuyun Ismawati, Nexus3/BaliFokus, HP/WA: +44-7538-768-707, E: yuyun@balifokus.asia
Prigi Arisandi, Ecoton, HP/WA: +62-817-503-3042, E: prigi.bening@gmail.com
Nur Hidayati, WALHI, HP/WA : +62-813-1610-1154, E: yaya.walhi@gmail.com
Fajri Fadhilah, ICEL, HP/WA: +62 812-8317-4014, E: fadhillah.fajri@gmail.com

 

Green groups push back on incineration plans in Australia

Green groups push back on incineration plans in Australia

Calls on waste take back

MANILA, Philippines (August 15, 2019)—Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced that they will stop export of recyclable waste amid rising global plastic pollution concern and pushback from Asian countries who are at the receiving end of the waste trade.

Green groups in and around the region are wary of the pronouncement that can be used as an opening to push for waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration which the Australian government has been silently supporting.  They are also pushing the government to take back waste that were already shipped to Asian countries.

 

Jane Bremmer, Coordinator, Zero Waste Australia (National Toxics Network): “The Prime Minister’s announcement and Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) support for a ban on waste exports should be cautiously welcomed and is long overdue following the embarrassing revelations of Australian illegal waste dumping in Southeast Asia. However, it seems certain that the announcement is designed to distract from a major government push to burn Australia’s waste in polluting incinerators: an industry it quietly supports. Waste-to-energy incineration has no place in a sustainable zero waste management and circular economy agenda. Burning finite resources in our residual waste stream—predominantly single-use, non-recyclable, fossil fuel-based plastic waste—is not only highly polluting but entrenches a linear economy, the very cause of global climate, pollution and health disasters and is the antithesis of a sustainable circular economy.”

Contact: Jane Bremmer, +610 3262387; acejane@bigpond.com

 

Enzo Favoino, Scientific Coordinator, Zero Waste Europe: “While we welcome Australia’s move to ban waste export, we are strongly against any plans by the federal government to use this to justify waste-to-energy incineration in the hope that it will power Australian homes. Burning plastics is one of the largest contributors to climate change, and energetic efficiencies of incinerators are appallingly low, let alone where heat finds little or no use. In Europe, a climate correction factor had to be adopted to artificially change calculation of energy efficiency and falsely show higher energy efficiency where heat is to no use, as it would be the case in most situations in Australia. However, Europe has disincentivized support to new incineration projects in the last few years, since reliance on incineration may be counterproductive for the ambitious recycling and reuse targets as defined in the Circular Economy Package. Most recently, a study in Nordic countries is showing that these countries are not on track to meet EU’s recycling target because of heavy reliance on incineration.  Australia should learn from the mistakes of Europe and not invest in incineration. Reusing and recycling saves remarkably more energy than what may be retrieved through incineration, and given the remarkably low energetic efficiency of incinerators, waste of energy is a more appropriate term to use than waste to energy.” 

Contact: Enzo Favoino, +39 335 355446; enzo.favoino@zerowasteeurope.eu

 

Beau Baconguis, Plastics Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic Asia Pacific coordinator: “There is a clear link between waste dumping by the Global North and the promotion of false solutions such as incineration to the waste problem in developing countries. Asia is now standing up against this injustice. Moreover, communities in our region, as well as in the global north, have demonstrated that the solution to the plastic waste problem is Zero Waste and that involves plastic waste reduction, alternative delivery systems, and ecological waste management programs. Governments need to listen more to its people rather than the profit-driven corporations peddling non-solutions.”

Contact: Beau Baconguis, +63 917 8715257, beau@no-burn.org

 

Yuyun Ismawati, Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) and co-founder & Senior Advisor of BaliFokus/Nexus3 Foundation: “We call for the Consulate General of Australia in Surabaya to apologize for saying that the Indonesian government approved Australia’s sending of nasty scrap. Our government never approved such importation. We also ask the Australian ports to improve and strengthen their monitoring and the work of the surveyors who confirm the impurities and content of “recyclables” inside containers that are sent out of Australia. Finally, we call on the exporting and importing companies to clean the messy dumpsites they have created in Indonesia and the rest of Asia. We also call for the Australian government to collaborate with the Indonesian government to use safe technology to treat historical plastic waste in dumpsites and avoid incineration.” 

Contact: Yuyun Ismawati, +447583768707, yuyun@balifokus.asia

 

Mageswari Sangaralingam, Consumers Association of Penang (Malaysia): “The Malaysian government announced in May that it will send back Australian plastic waste because it was too contaminated to recycle or had been falsely labelled and smuggled in. Now that the Australian PM made pronouncement to stop waste export, the Australian government must take back waste that has already been shipped to Malaysia. We want the Australian government to clearly state their plans and timelines in cleaning up their mess (waste take back) and in stopping waste export. Further, in the future we want assurances that wastes are not relabelled and exported as commodities or fuel.”

Contact: Mageswari Sangaralingam, +60128782706, magesling@gmail.com

 

PRESS CONTACTS

Jed Alegado, Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic, jed@breakfreefromplastic.org | +63 917-6070248

Sherma Benosa, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific, sherma@no-burn.org | +63 917-8157570

Sonia Astudillo, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific, sonia@no-burn.org | +63 917-5969286

 

Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) is an alliance of organizations and concerned individuals, campaigning to promote a correct term of the Zero Waste approach to enforce the existing activities, programs and initiatives that have already implemented in many Indonesian cities considering waste management hierarchy concept, material life cycle, and circular economy. https://www.aliansizerowaste.id/

Nexus3 Foundation (formerly known as BaliFokus) is a non-governmental organization working to improve community’s capacity, quality of life and advocating a toxics-free environment together with all stakeholders in sustainable way. https://www.balifokus.asia/ 

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) focuses on sustainable and ethical consumption and challenges current aggressive advertising industry that is unfettered and shapes people’s consumption to lifestyles and behavior that is unsustainable, unethical, and inequitable. https://consumer.org.my/ 

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. www.no-burn.org

National Toxics Network is a community-based network working to ensure a toxic-free future for all. It is a national network giving a voice to community and environmental organizations across Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. https://ntn.org.au/

Zero Waste Europe is a fast-growing movement of communities, local leaders, businesses, experts, influencers, and other “change agents” working towards the vision of eliminating waste in our society.  https://zerowasteeurope.eu/ 

 

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