Monitoring trade in plastic waste and scrap

Global trade in plastic waste and scrap declined further (2017-2022) in 2022. The combined trade surplus of OECD Member Countries (i.e. the difference between exports and imports) continued to decrease. Less plastic waste and scrap is being exported by OECD countries to non-OECD countries, however some countries still export substantial volumes to non-OECD countries. Particularly several non-OECD south-east Asian countries remain large export destinations. Trade between OECD countries has increased. The value and composition of plastic waste and scrap exports in 2021 suggests that more high value and easy to recycle plastic waste was traded. Some volume of plastics waste is likely transformed into a “fuel” via mechanical and chemical processing and subsequently shipped as Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) or Refuse-Derived Fuels (RDF), broadly categorised under HS 3825. There was an increase in this trade mostly between OECD countries in 2021. The trade regime remains dynamic with new export destinations emerging, which deserve further monitoring.

Available from April 15, 2024

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