New Regulations Impact Canadian Control of Cross-Border Plastic Waste

Canadian companies who export or transport plastic waste out of the country are subject to regulations that came into effect at the beginning of 2021. This news matters because if companies don’t comply, they could face prosecution and costly fines.

On January 1st, 2021, the Basel Convention plastic amendments came into effect. That meant that exporting or conveying in-transit plastic waste in foreign countries can be subject to the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) or to the Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (XBR).

These new rules apply to plastic waste listed in either in Annex II or VIII to the Basel Convention exported to a country that’s party to the convention.

Under EIHWHRMR and XBR, controlled plastic waste requires an export permit. In the case that plastic waste is unlawfully exported, you will not only need to make all necessary arrangements to return the shipment to Canada or an alternative destination – you could also be prosecuted for violating the provisions of Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the EIHWHRMR or XBR.

The Basel Convention website offers useful information in this regard, especially about entries Y48 of Annex II and A3210 of Annex VIII, which help you determine if the plastic waste set for export are subject to regulations. This information remains unchanged even after XBR came into force.