Global Plastics Treaty: Make it Bold, Make it Binding

Thanks to the tireless work of the #breakfreefromplastic movement and GAIA members around the world, last March, the United Nations Environment Assembly decided on a mandate to create the world’s first Plastics Treaty, a legally binding international law aimed at reducing plastic pollution worldwide, covering the full life-cycle of plastic. This is a historic step forward in the fight against plastic pollution, and would not have been possible without a diverse movement of waste pickers, frontline community activists, and zero waste advocates demanding systemic change. However, there’s still a long road ahead–there will be a series of meetings through the end of 2024 during which the treaty will take shape. GAIA and our allies will be present for the entirety of the negotiations to make sure our issues are represented, but it will take continuing pressure from people all over the world to ensure that we get a strong treaty that meets the scale of the crisis. Such a treaty must include plastic reduction targets, eradicate toxics, exclude false solutions like incineration, scale up zero waste solutions such as reuse, and center a just transition for waste pickers and other groups at the frontlines of the crisis.


Reflections on the Close of INC-2

The second round of negotiations for a global plastics treaty concluded on June 2, 2023 in Paris, France. While there were many attempts by industry and certain countries to stall progress and the United Nations Environment Programme limited civil society’s voice, the fight for a strong global plastics treaty advanced to the next stage.


The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) held a press conference along with representatives from Acción Ecológica México, Zero Waste Alliance Ecuador,, Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers, Kenya National Waste Pickers Welfare Association, and Community Action Against Plastic Waste to provide perspectives from civil society organisations in the global south as the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution commences.


Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is compelled to respond to the harmful and damaging arguments published  recently in The New York Times opinion piece by The Ocean Cleanup founder Boyan Slat. This article perpetuates the false narrative that the Global South is somehow to blame for the plastic pollution problem, and that expensive downstream approaches are our best tool to fight it–downplaying the necessity of reducing plastic production, which advocates and experts around the world are pushing for at the upcoming global plastics treaty negotiations next week in Paris.

Press Release: New UNEP Report Sparks Controversy Ahead of Global Plastics Treaty Negotiations

Civil society organizations, academics, and frontline groups are expressing their concern over the UNEP Spotlight report’s promotion of burning plastic waste in cement kilns as a key strategy in the design and implementation of the Global Plastics Treaty.


Press Release: Closing of INC-1

The first intergovernmental committee meeting (INC-1) for an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution convened by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded today with a mix of high and low moments, setting the stage for a two-year-long process that could result in one of the most significant multilateral environmental agreements in history.

Press Release: Historic Recognition of Waste Pickers in Plastics Treaty Negotiations

The formation of a Group of Friends of Waste Pickers was announced on November 29, 2022 at the negotiations towards a global plastics treaty. This historic moment marks unprecedented recognition of the rights, skills, and importance of the informal waste sector; never before have countries formally committed to advocate on behalf of waste pickers in the context of international negotiations.

Policy Briefs/Submissions

GAIA Submission Part B- Input on the Potential Areas of Intersessional Work to Inform the INC-3: Further Information

This submission provides detailed GAIA recommendations to orient intersessional work and global plastics treaty negotiations. It includes criteria and processes to set plastic production freeze and phasedown targets and schedules and their supporting measures, and a framework to identify high-risk plastic products and materials for priority action, as well as polymers and other chemicals of concern, among other issues.


GAIA Submission to INC-3 Part B: Roadmap for intersessional work


GAIA Submission on Treaty Scope and Principles

The future plastics treaty’s scope agreed in UNEA resolution 5/14 covers all plastics and all plastic pollution across the full lifecycle of plastics. In addition to the Rio Principles, human rights, the principle of prevention and inter-generational equity must also be reflected in treaty control measures and means of implementation. 


GAIA’s Key Demands for INC-2

This document is an overview of the key GAIA asks for INC-2. More detail can be found in the GAIA INC-2 submission


GAIA Commentary on INC-2 Options Paper

Read GAIA’s select comments on document UNEP/PP/INC.2/4 Potential options for elements towards an international legally binding instrument, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastics (Options Paper).


Plastics circularity: beyond the hype 

References to the “circular economy of plastics” and  “plastics circularity” have multiplied around the plastic treaty negotiations. This brief considers the following questions:

  • What is circularity – is it the same as recycling? 
  • Is circularity always good for the environment?  
  • For whose profit and at whose expense is plastic waste traded for “global plastics circularity”?
  • What are the challenges with plastic recycling, and what future does it have?  
  • What safeguards are needed for the rights of workers who collect and recycle plastic wastes? 

This document contains an overview of the status of the negotiations thus far, as well as a negotiations timeline.


Defining Plastic Products, Materials and Polymers: A Proposal

Adequate definitions of plastic products and polymers are needed in the global plastic treaty to capture the full range of sources of plastic pollution (November 2022).


The Pros and Cons of EPR: Lessons from France

In the context of the upcoming plastic treaty negotiations in Paris (INC-2, May-June 2023), Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes are often put forward as an essential policy approach to address the global plastic pollution crisis, especially as a source of funding and a way to incentivize redesign for reuse and plastic waste prevention. France is often cited as an EPR pioneer, particularly in the use of eco-modulated fees to encourage reuse and eco-design.

This paper draws lessons from France’s EPR experience in packaging and other sectors, and explores to what extent EPR schemes can truly promote reuse and other eco-design, reduce low-quality recycling and plastic burning, as well as effectively fund the costs of the plastic pollution crisis.


Submission to INC-2

Read GAIA’s key recommendations for INC-2 from May 29-June 2 2023.

Submission to the INC Process on Plastic Pollution July 15, 2022

GAIA’s recommendations for the negotiation process towards a global instrument on plastic pollution.

Issues in Focus

Plastics Crisis: Challenges, Advances and Relationship with Waste Pickers

Negotiations must include the recognition of the historical work of those who have recovered more materials and in the most efficient way: the waste pickers.

Rommel Cabrera/GAIA, 2019. Waste pickers collecting separated waste from households. Tacloban City, the Philippines.

Overview of the Plastics Treaty/Tratado sobre plásticos

Plastic pollution does not respect borders. It is in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and even in our bodies. A new binding legal instrument, covering the entire lifecycle of plastic, is required to tackle this planetary crisis.


The Plastic Waste Trade

Top exporters such as the United States, Germany, the UK, Japan and Australia are placing a disproportionate toxic burden on the environment and communities in importing countries. A Global Plastics Treaty can enact stricter measures on the waste trade to prevent environmental injustices.


Plastic and Waste Pickers/Recicladores

Plastic takes up a large percentage of the waste handled by waste pickers. Consequently, they are one of the most vulnerable occupation groups that stand to be impacted by the global plastics treaty. The treaty must establish the legal frameworks required to improve working conditions for waste pickers.


Toxics and Health

Plastic contains toxic chemicals that leach into our food, water, and soil. Out of about 10,000 chemicals used as plastic additives, few have been widely studied, let alone regulated. A treaty must address plastic’s toxic burden.


Plastic and Climate Change/Los plásticos y el cambio climático

Plastic is a significant contributor to climate change throughout its lifecycle. By 2050, emissions from plastic alone will take up over a third of the remaining carbon budget for a 1.5 °C target. A plastics treaty must impose legally-binding plastic reduction targets.


Chemical “Recycling” and Plastic-to-Fuel

Faced with increasing pressure from lawmakers and civil society to reduce plastic production and greater awareness of the limits of mechanical recycling, the petrochemical industry has been peddling chemical “recycling” and “plastic-to-fuel” as a primary solution to plastic pollution. However, after billions of dollars and decades of development, these approaches do not work as advertised. A plastics treaty stands to be undermined if it embraces these industry-backed false solutions.


Waste Incineration and Burning Waste in Cement Kilns

Burning waste emits climate pollution and other toxic chemicals, and is the least energy-efficient and most costly method of energy production. A plastics treaty must adopt a moratorium on new incinerators and encourage a roadmap to phase out all existing incinerators by 2030.


Burning Waste in Cement Kilns

Burning plastic in cement kilns results in toxic emissions, threatening the health of workers, communities and the environment, especially in low-income countries in the Global South. Widespread burning of waste in cement kilns would also worsen the already devastating carbon footprint of the cement industry. A plastics treaty must phase out burning plastic waste in cement kilns.


Plastic Neutrality and Credit

The global plastics treaty provides an important opportunity to officially discourage or ban the use of plastic credits before they become widespread. Doing so would avoid the incredible amount of regulatory oversight needs —both in the private and public sectors— to organize and
manage international plastic credit markets. The collective efforts could be better spent on reducing plastic production rapidly.


Zero Waste Finance

A transition from a plastic-reliant economy toward a circular zero waste economy requires effective mobilization and allocation of financial resources. Public and private finance have distinct and intersecting roles to play in supporting and scaling up innovations for waste prevention, redesign, alternative delivery and reuse systems as well as improving existing waste collection and recycling systems.


Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies seek to improve the environmental and social performance of products by holding producers and brand owners accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products. The global plastics treaty must embed well-designed EPR policies in it, guiding producers to prioritize upstream solutions.



The global Plastics Treaty must focus on plastic reduction and reuse, instead of substituting a plastic single-use item for a bio-based, biodegradable, or compostable one.


Australia quietly reopens plastic waste exports while, UNEP “Turns on the Tap” for burning plastic waste in cement kilns: Policy desperation on the eve of Plastic Treaty negotiations

20 May 2023 – On the eve of the new global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris, the Australian Environment Minister has decided to reopen plastic waste exports, after a five-year ban introduced by the previous federal government. The 2019 ban on waste exports came in response to China and Southeast Asian countries expose` on waste dumping. Countries that Australia had previously exported plastic waste to, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, struggle to manage plastic waste pollution, resulting in significant harm to vulnerable communities and sensitive marine environments.

As scientific evidence grows on the full extent and damage to our planet and human health that plastic waste causes, such regressive decisions from Australia underscore a colonialist approach to waste management policy, where pollution is externalised.

The decision highlights decades of failed national plastic waste regulation and a national plastic waste policy in disarray. “This is no way to fight a plastic pollution crisis,” warns Jane Bremmer, Coordinator of Zero Waste Australia “We have already seen the waste export ban exploited by government and the waste industry. They colluded to create an exemption on exports of bales of mixed plastic waste and paper rebranded as Process Engineered Fuels’. Now we have an admission that plastic waste management is failing in Australia. This is not how you address a plastic waste crisis -we need a cap on plastic production that’s how you address the plastic waste crisis.”

At the same time the UN has released a report that recommends burning plastic waste in cement kilns, a technology that creates significant pollution that poses health threats to workers and neighbouring communities.

Bremmer said “This is one of the most polluting smokestack industries in the world and incredibly the UN is recommending they increase burning plastic waste. Cement kilns are listed as one of the worlds largest dioxin polluters and plastic wastes contain many toxic chemicals that will add to dioxin emissions. The waste industry is clearly having too much influence on these types of publications and Australian policy.”

Australia’s role and commitment to the UNEA High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution is questionable as it fails to demonstrate real action on the agreed Global Strategic Goals, choosing instead to export this hazardous waste and invest in false solutions, such as burning plastic waste in cement kilns and investing in controversial technologies such as chemical recycling. Australia has failed to act on reducing the consumption and production of plastic, instead allowing industry to promote recycling as a solution while simultaneously increasing the production of non-recyclable single use plastic. Australia has invested $250 million of public funds into waste recycling infrastructure to support an industry sector that cannot deliver the solutions we need. Indeed, they are invested in the continuing growth of plastic waste, in direct opposition to the international consensus for an urgent reduction in plastic production.

Yet the recent UNEP report released in preparation for the upcoming Plastic Treaty negotiations – “Turning off the Tap” appears to ignore its own key message instead promoting plastic recycling and burning in cement kilns as solutions, both of which will never “Turn off the Tap” for plastic production. It is clear that the fossil fuel and petrochemicals sector continues to dominate at the highest levels of international negotiations, in lock step with wealthy OECD nations such as Australia, by delaying real action on this urgent climate, ecological and human health threat, that is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable countries and communities, globally.

“Australia must uphold its commitments to the High Ambition Coalition by immediately acting to stop all plastic waste exports and delivering on the agreed Global Strategic Goals. This is hazardous waste as defined in our Australian legislation and should not be exported anywhere. Quietly granting exemptions to waste management facilities to continue exporting this hazardous waste is a slap in the face to all Australians who thought our new federal government cared about the impacts of plastic pollution on our environment both in and outside Australia and the human rights of all peoples.”, states Zero Waste Australia, Campaign Coordinator, Jane Bremmer.

“We are very disappointed that Australia is reopening waste exports. Malaysia has experienced the impacts of dirty waste trade from Australia, including wastes that were disguised as “fuels”. Australia should prioritise source reduction and take responsibility for their own waste. Do not export harm in the pretext of recycling,” states Mageswari Sangaralingam, Consumers’ Association of Penang.

“At a time when Thailand is phasing out the imports of plastic scraps and intensifying its regulations on transboundary waste, it is disheartening to see a more developed country moving in the opposite direction. Not to mention, in July last year, 130 tons of municipal waste from Australia was found in a Thai port. To this day, it is unclear if this batch of waste has been repatriated. Plastic exports from Australia have long been a problem for Thailand, and the reopening of plastic waste export policy will only worsen the situation. We urge the Australian government to take responsibility for the waste and pollution its country creates, rather than seeking policies that could violate other’s environmental sovereignty and will draw nothing more than condemnation and embarrassment.” Punyathorn Jeungsmarn, Information and Communication Officer, EARTH.

“This policy is a step backward and should be reversed, ” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “Instead of exporting its plastic wastes to the Philippines and elsewhere, Australia should put a cap on plastic production and consumption and ensure that unwanted plastics are not incinerated, co-processed in cement kilns or sent offshore in the guise of recycling.”

“Australia’s reversed policy is a bad example of plastic waste governance. Developed countries like Australia should set an example of how to keep a promise,” said Yuyun Ismawati from Nexus3 Foundation. “Exporting waste for ‘recycling’ or waste to energy to other countries is unsustainable. We’ve witnessed adverse impacts with Australian packaging brands dumped in the communities near paper and plastic recycling factories in Indonesia. In addition, Australian investments in Indonesia to address plastic pollution have made little progress. Australia should clean up its own backyard and increase investment in its own waste management systems instead of exporting and polluting neighbouring countries.”


Jane Bremmer

Zero Waste Australia

Campaign Coordinator

National Toxics Network


Aileen Lucero

EcoWaste Coalition 78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central,

1100 Quezon City, Philippines Phone: +632-82944807

Website: ,

Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega

Senior Advisor & co-founder of Nexus3

IPEN Lead for ASM/Mining


Mageswari Sangaralingam

Consumers’ Association of Penang & Friends of the Earth Malaysia


Punyathorn Jeungsmarn
Information and Communication Officer
Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH)

Exposing the truth behind the plastic crisis through a brand audit 

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific took a bold step forward in unveiling the truth behind the plastic pollution crisis through a waste assessment and brand audit (WABA)* and media briefing event on January 24, 2023 as part of International Zero Waste Month 2023. 

With participation from Ocean Conservancy, this event shed more light on the narrative impact of the GAIA network’s brand audits. Ocean Conservancy had published a report in 2015* that put blame on Asian countries as the main drivers of plastic pollution in the ocean and positioned incineration as a solution to the plastic crisis. They retracted the report in July 2022, recognizing the harm it caused.

“We, at the Global South, have carried the weight and responsibility of waste for too long while our reality and the community solutions we have developed are ignored,” said Froilan Grate, GAIA Asia Pacific Coordinator.  “This brand audit with GAIA, Mother Earth Foundation, Ecowaste Coalition, and Ocean Conservancy shows the commitment to work towards reducing waste, moving away from false solutions, acknowledging the work happening on the ground, and most important, restoring justice where it was previously overlooked.”    

Since Ocean Conservancy’s retraction of the report, the two organizations have been engaging in a restorative justice process to acknowledge and address the harm done by the report, and join forces to expose false solutions and drive accountability among plastics producers. 

“We cannot solve the plastic pollution crisis without reducing virgin plastic production, especially single-use plastics,” said Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy’s  Vice President of Ocean Plastics. “This has to be our first priority. We are grateful for the incredible work that GAIA has done to shed light on this issue, and hope to learn from their members. We look forward to working together by leveraging each of our organizations’ strengths to eliminate plastic pollution.”  

For years brand audit reports have shown that consumer brands based in the Global North have been overproducing single-use plastics and flooding Asian markets with disposable, throwaway packaging, at the expense of citizens and local governments who end up footing the bill and enduring the long-lasting environmental health effects associated with plastic pollution. 

Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the #breakfreefromplastic movement said, “For years, the public has been conditioned to believe that the problem of plastic pollution, now manifesting in the unprecedented, pernicious, and wide-ranging contamination of all life on the planet, was caused by their undisciplined ways and the failure of governments to institute and implement proper waste management systems. Our brand audits have now exposed the real causes of this crisis – and it is mainly due to the irresponsible and predatory practice by corporations of saturating our societies with single-use plastics of all kinds with no consideration about how they can be managed in an environmentally safe and benign manner.” 

“In addition,  Ecowaste Coalition campaigner Coleen Salamat said that, “The real issue is the export of waste and waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration technologies to developing countries,” In the Philippines and in the rest of Asia, “We are faced with truckloads of waste that we have no means of handling. From products packed in sachets to WtE incineration projects, and waste colonialism* has sadly become a norm.” 

“It is never too late to turn things around. Communities around the world are discovering the power of Zero Waste solutions. Through the restorative justice process, we will continue to expose the truth of the waste crisis and it will be more than just a wake-up call to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) and purveyors of false narratives, but cold water splashed over their faces,” said Grate. “The Zero Waste solutions that we have and been doing all these years will be enough for our lawmakers to rethink their policies to turn the tide against waste and the climate crisis.” 


* Waste Assessment and Brand Audit (WABA) is a methodical process of collecting and analyzing waste to determine the amount and types of waste generated by households and cities and identity which brands are responsible for producing certain percentages of the collected waste. Plastics Exposed details how waste assessments and brand audits help Philippine cities tackle plastic waste. 

* In 2015, the  US-based non-profit Ocean Conservancy published the report, Stemming the Tide. This has since been retracted by Ocean Conservancy.  

* Waste colonialization is the practice of exporting waste, from the higher-income countries to lower-income countries who are ill-equipped to handle this waste which places the burden of plastic and toxic waste on the environment, communities, and these countries’ informal waste sector, especially in the Global South.   

Von Wong Production 2021.

Fuente: Rethink Plastic, Bruselas, 01/12/2022

En una decisión histórica, la Comisión de Medio Ambiente del Parlamento Europeo (ENVI por sus siglas en inglés) votó a favor de prohibir las exportaciones de residuos plásticos de la Unión Europea y reforzar las medidas de protección para los traslados internos de residuos plásticos.

En una decisión histórica, la Comisión de Medio Ambiente del Parlamento Europeo votó a favor de prohibir las exportaciones de residuos plásticos de la UE y reforzar las medidas de protección para los traslados internos de residuos plásticos.

El movimiento Break Free From Plastic y la alianza Rethink Plastic han abogado enérgicamente para que la Unión Europea ponga fin a la exportación de residuos plásticos fuera de la Unión y de la Asociación Europea de Libre Comercio (AELC), tanto a países de la OCDE (por ejemplo, Turquía) como de a aquellos que no pertenecen (por ejemplo, Malasia). Esto se debe al concluyente conjunto de pruebas y experiencias reales que demuestran que este tipo de comercio causa daños medioambientales y a la salud humana en los países receptores. En 2021, las exportaciones de residuos plásticos de la UE a todos los países ascendieron a 1.135 millones de kilos, de los cuales el 43% se destinaron a países no pertenecientes a la OCDE y el 35% a Turquía. Algunos Estados miembros de la UE incluso han aumentado sus exportaciones de residuos plásticos a países no pertenecientes a la OCDE y a Turquía en 2022.

“La decisión de la Comisión de Medio Ambiente de apoyar la prohibición de las exportaciones de residuos plásticos es un hito en la política de la UE. La exportación de residuos plásticos de países de altos ingresos, como los Estados miembros de la UE, es inmoral y explotadora. Que esto se haya reconocido es un gran paso, ahora es urgente que el Pleno del parlamento europeo y el Consejo sigan su ejemplo.” declaró Lauren Weir, campañista de océanos de la Agencia de Investigación Medioambiental.

Theresa Mörsen, responsable de política de residuos de Zero Waste Europe, indicó: “Una prohibición hace recaer la responsabilidad del tratamiento de los residuos en los Estados miembros de la UE y abre camino para una gestión más eficaz de los residuos, además de fomentar la reducción del uso de plásticos mediante la reutilización y la prevención en lugar de externalización este problema tóxico.” 

La votación también ha sido bien acogida por los miembros del movimiento Break Free From Plastic en los países receptores de residuos plásticos de la UE.

“Esta votación protegerá a las comunidades que llevan décadas soportando la contaminación por residuos plásticos exportados por los países ricos e industrializados, especialmente en Asia. Los residuos plásticos mal gestionados provenientes de otros países han contaminado nuestras tierras, alimentos, agua y aire con microplásticos y sustancias tóxicas. Los habitantes locales ven con impotencia cómo sus familiares enferman de generación en generación. Se trata de un asunto urgente de injusticia medioambiental. Europa debe rendir cuentas del coste real de sus residuos plásticos”, declaró Pui Yi Wong, Coordinadora del Proyecto de Comercio de residuos de Break Free From Plastic en Asia Pacífico.

Como bien han demostrado los miembros de la alianza Rethink Plastic, la prohibición abordaría los problemas a los que se enfrentan los países receptores como consecuencia de las importaciones de residuos plásticos, además del hecho de que las exportaciones de residuos plásticos son una vía ampliamente explotada por delincuentes que se dedican a los residuos e influyen en el desplazamiento de la capacidad de reciclaje interna en los países receptores. Sin embargo, no sólo los países de destino fuera de la UE son víctimas de los efectos negativos de este comercio. Muchos Estados miembros de la UE también se ven afectados, en parte como consecuencia del creciente número de países que cierran sus fronteras a los residuos plásticos de la UE. De ahí que el Reglamento sobre el traslado de residuos deba esbozar políticas de protección adecuadas para todos los Estados miembros de la UE. 

Una de esas medidas esenciales que la UE puede poner en marcha para los envíos internos de residuos plásticos es la plena transposición del Convenio de Basilea, es decir, el requisito del consentimiento previo del país receptor para el ingreso de residuos plásticos mezclados, contaminados y no destinados al reciclaje, dado que son más vulnerables a la mala gestión y la ilegalidad. Afortunadamente, la Comisión de Medio Ambiente ha decidido poner fin a la perjudicial excepción a este requisito del Convenio de Basilea que la UE tiene actualmente en vigor.

Con las negociaciones del primer Tratado Mundial de Plásticos desarrollado en Uruguay, los próximos dos años serán cruciales para elaborar un acuerdo global jurídicamente vinculante que resuelva el problema de la contaminación por plásticos. Una de las soluciones clave es reducir la producción de plástico, además de rediseñar materiales, productos y sistemas, lo que también evitaría la generación de residuos. La votación de la Comisión de Medio Ambiente demuestra que la UE está avanzando en reconocer cómo las exportaciones de residuos plásticos actúan como una laguna jurídica, permitiendo además que continúen los altos niveles de producción y consumo de plástico en la UE.  

El plenario del Parlamento Europeo votará el Reglamento sobre envío de residuos en enero, y el Consejo  fijará también su posición a principios del próximo año.

Recomendamos leer:

Comercio transfronterizo de plásticos en América Latina: Resumen de los informes investigativos de miembros de GAIA

Ocean Conservancy commits to working with GAIA Network to address damages done to impacted communities

September 14, 2022 – Today the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in the Asia Pacific and its member organizations have concluded the first step of a restorative justice process with the U.S.-based organization Ocean Conservancy (OC). The process aims to address the years of damage brought about by its “Stemming the Tide” report (now removed from OC’s website) by correcting the narrative and agreeing to restorative actions requested by communities and sectors most impacted by the report. 

In contrast to the 2015 report which placed the responsibility for plastic waste solely on the shoulders of five Asian countries (China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) while ignoring the role of the Global North in plastic overproduction and waste exports, this process is leading to new common ground. Agreements include prioritizing plastic reduction policies, moving resources to Zero Waste solutions, denouncing false solutions like burning plastics in so-called “waste to energy” (WTE) incinerators and “chemical recycling,” and accountability mechanisms.

”This unprecedented report retraction is an opportunity to interrupt decades of waste colonialism,” shares Froilan Grate, GAIA Asia Pacific Coordinator. “Ocean Conservancy is in a position to raise awareness among other organizations and policymakers about the false narrative propagated by the report. We call on all organizations to adhere to democratic organizing principles when interacting with communities in the Global South, and to respect solutions that are grounded in the real situation of the communities.” Grate encourages advocates to reinforce the restorative justice process.

First coined in 1989, waste colonialism is the process by which rich and developed countries show dominance over other lesser-developed countries through toxic waste exports, leaving the receiving (and often, ill-equipped) countries to deal with the waste, thus severely affecting their communities and environment. 

Christie Keith, GAIA International Coordinator, expounds,  “The five Asian countries mentioned in the report are not to be blamed for plastic waste. That fault lies with the corporations that make and push out ever-increasing quantities of plastic – and those fighting for Zero Waste community solutions deserve to be honored and celebrated, not attacked. We welcome OC’s commitment to repair the harm done, and uplift Zero Waste solutions. ”

Aditi Varshneya, GAIA US Membership Coordinator, adds, “‘Stemming the Tide’ also harmed communities in more ways than one. The report’s findings have undermined long-standing community efforts to achieve sustainable policies on health, waste management, and funding.”

Rahyang Nusantara of Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia emphasizes that “The report (‘Stemming the Tide’) has harmed our communities but we are not victims because we have the solutions.” David Sutasurya of Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB) adds,  “We have Zero Waste solutions to counter waste.”  Sutasurya shares that in the first year of YPBB’s Zero Waste pilot areas in Bandung, the districts successfully diverted 950 kg of waste away from landfills daily and managed to save about IDR 63 million (USD 4,300) in waste transportation costs. 

According to Satyarupa Shekhar, #breakfreefromplastic movement Asia Pacific Coordinator, “OC’s report, which was drafted by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm whose clientele includes some of the world’s top plastic polluters, diluted existing restrictions on incineration and opened the doors to false solutions and controversial techno-fixes to deal with the plastic pollution crisis. Some of the glaring examples are: in the Philippines, where a national ban on incineration is threatened by new proposals to allow WTE incineration plants, and in Indonesia, where the government continues to push for waste incineration despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruling revoked Presidential regulation No. 18/2016, which speed up the development of waste-based power plants or incinerators.“

Aside from retracting the report, OC acknowledged its mistake in focusing on plastic waste management and reconsidered its position on WTE incineration and other similar technologies to deal with the burgeoning plastic waste crisis. OC has also admitted its error in failing to look at the work of local communities and the subsequent effects of the report on them. 

Welcoming OC’s change of position, Aileen Lucero of Ecowaste Coalition in the Philippines and Daru Rini of ECOTON in Indonesia illustrated that the current plastic crisis is not a waste management issue, but instead, the problem should be addressed by looking at the entire lifecycle of plastic. Rini states that “the problem begins the moment fossil fuels are extracted to produce single-use plastics (SUP).”  

Fighting False Solutions to Plastic Pollution

In recent years, several false solutions have been offered to counteract the plastic crisis,  from burning waste to “chemical recycling,” which in no way addresses the full lifecycle of plastic. 

For Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of Mother Earth Foundation in the Philippines, “Each country should be responsible for the waste it generates and not export them under the guise of ‘trade’. Burning waste is not an option as well. WTE could as well mean “waste of energy.”

Looking at the current end life of SUPs, Xuan Quach, Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance chairman, highlights that, “WTE and chemical recycling are not sustainable.” To which, Nindhita Proboretno of Nexus 3 Foundation in Indonesia adds,  “Those technologies are not environment-friendly solutions and have no place in a world struggling against climate change.”  

Xavier Sun,  organizer of the Taiwan Zero Waste Alliance, agrees, stating that such strategies only  “cause further toxic pollution (such as bottom ash, fly ash, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) that damages our climate and human health. Additionally, they encourage further plastic production, and undermine real solutions.”

Moving toward Zero Waste

Meanwhile, Merci Ferrer of War on Waste-Break Free From Plastic (WOW-BFFP) – Negros Oriental in the Philippines, adds that “This  process with OC would bring justice and recognition to the work of communities engaged in Zero Waste work.”

Summarizing the sentiments of all key leaders, Nalini Shekar of Hasiru Dala in India, adds, “The report has influenced decision makers to divert valuable resources meant for decentralized Zero Waste solutions to centralized, highly-mechanical unsustainable practices and caused other harm to communities. However, the report retraction is a step towards healing and reversing the damages done –  showing once again that Zero Waste is the only sustainable solution.”


About GAIA – GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries. With our work, we aim to catalyze a global shift towards environmental justice by strengthening grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution. We envision a just, Zero Waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped. 

Media Contacts:

Sonia Astudillo, GAIA Asia Pacific Senior Communications Officer  | | +63 9175969286


Bahasa Indonesia:

Kemajuan Bersejarah dalam Perang Melawan Kolonialisme Sampah

Ocean Conservancy berkomitmen untuk bekerja sama dengan GAIA Network untuk mengatasi kerugian yang terjadi pada masyarakat yang terdampak

14 September 2022 – Kemarin, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pasifik dan anggotanya telah menyelesaikan langkah pertama dari proses keadilan restoratif dengan Ocean Conservancy (OC) organisasi yang berbasis di AS. Proses ini bertujuan untuk mengatasi kerugian yang sudah bertahun-tahun  yang ditimbulkan oleh laporan “Stemming the Tide” (saat ini sudah dihapus dari situs web OC) dengan mengoreksi narasi, dan menyepakati tindakan restoratif yang diminta oleh masyarakat dan sektor yang paling terkena dampak atas laporan tersebut.

Berbeda dengan tahun 2015, dimana lima negara Asia (China, Indonesia, Filipina, Thailand, dan Vietnam) dinobatkan sebagai negara yang bertanggung jawab atas sampah plastik namun mengabaikan peran negara-negara Global Utara dalam produksi plastik dan ekspor sampah yang berlebihan, saat ini proses keadilan restoratif mengarah ke kesepakatan baru. Kesepakatan termasuk memprioritaskan keb akan pengurangan plastik, mentransfer sumber daya ke solusi Zero Waste, menolak solusi palsu seperti pembakaran plastik yang disebut insinerator “Waste to Energy”, daur ulang bahan kimia’, dan mekanisme akuntabilitas.

Pencabutan laporan yang belum pernah terjadi sebelumnya ini untuk menginterupsi puluhan tahun kolonialisme sampah,” kata Froilan Grate, Koordinator GAIA Asia Pasifik. “Ocean Conservancy berada dalam posisi untuk meningkatkan kesadaran di antara organisasi dan pembuat keb akan lain tentang narasi palsu yang disebarkan oleh laporan tersebut. Kami meminta kepada semua organisasi untuk mematuhi prinsip-prinsip pengorganisasian yang demokratis ketika berinteraksi dengan masyarakat di negara-negara Global South, dan untuk menghormati solusi yang didasarkan pada situasi nyata masyarakat lokal,” tambah Grate mendorong para advokat untuk memperkuat proses keadilan restoratif.

Pertama kali diciptakan pada tahun 1989, kolonialisme sampah adalah proses di mana negara-negara kaya dan maju menunjukkan dominasi atas negara-negara kurang berkembang lainnya melalui ekspor limbah beracun, membiarkan negara-negara penerima

(dan seringkali, tidak dilengkapi teknologi yang baik) untuk menangani limbah, dengan demikian mempengaruhi dalam memperparah dampak yang dialami masyarakat dan lingkungan mereka.

Christie Keith, Koordinator Internasional GAIA, menjelaskan, “Lima negara Asia yang disebutkan dalam laporan tidak dapat disalahkan atas sampah plastik. Kesalahan itu terletak pada perusahaan yang membuat dan mendorong jumlah plastik yang terus meningkat – dan mereka yang berjuang untuk solusi Zero Waste Community layak untuk dihargai dan dirayakan, bukan diserang. Kami menyambut baik komitmen OC untuk memperbaiki kerusakan yang terjadi, dan meningkatkan solusi Zero Waste, ” ujarnya.

Aditi Varshneya, GAIA AS Koordinator Keanggotaan, menambahkan, “‘Stemming the Tide juga merugikan masyarakat dengan lebih dari satu cara. Temuan laporan tersebut telah merusak upaya masyarakat lokal untuk mencapai keb akan berkelanjutan tentang kesehatan, pengelolaan limbah, dan pendanaan,” tambahnya.

Rahyang Nusantara dari Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia juga menekankan bahwa, “Laporan (‘Stemming the Tide’) telah merugikan komunitas kami tetapi kami bukan korban karena kami memiliki solusinya.” Begitu juga dengan David Sutasurya dari Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB), dia menambahkan, “Kami memiliki solusi Zero Waste untuk mengatasi sampah.” David menjelaskan bahwa pada tahun pertama daerah percontohan Zero Waste YPBB di Kota Bandung dan kabupaten-kabupaten tersebut berhasil mengalihkan 950 kg sampah dari tempat pembuangan sampah setiap hari dan berhasil menghemat sekitar Rp 63 juta (USD 4.300) untuk biaya transportasi sampah.

Sementara itu, menurut Satyarupa Shekhar, Koordinator gerakan #breakfreefromplastic Asia Pasifik, “Laporan OC, yang disusun oleh McKinsey & Company, sebuah perusahaan konsultan manajemen global yang kliennya mencakup beberapa pencemar plastik terbesar di dunia, melemahkan pembatasan penggunaan teknologi insinerator yang ada dan membuka pintu untuk solusi palsu dan perbaikan teknologi kontroversial untuk menangani krisis polusi plastik,” jelasnya. Satyarupa memaparkan beberapa contoh mencolok adalah: di Filipina, di mana larangan nasional terhadap insinerator terancam oleh proposal baru yang mengizinkan pembangkit listrik tenaga sampah menjadi energi, dan di Indonesia, di mana pemerintah terus mendorong insinerasi sampah meskipun keputusan Mahkamah Agung telah mencabut Perpres No. 18/2016, yang mempercepat pembangunan pembangkit listrik berbasis sampah atau insinerator.

Selain mencabut laporan tersebut, OC mengakui kesalahannya yang hanya fokus pada manajemen pengelolaan sampah plastik dan mempertimbangkan waste-to-energy atau insinerasi dan teknologi serupa lainnya untuk menangani krisis sampah plastik yang sedang berkembang. OC juga mengakui kesalahannya karena tidak melihat apa yang sudah dikerjakan oleh masyarakat lokal dan bagaimana dampaknya terhadap mereka akibat laporan tersebut.

Menyambut perubahan posisi OC, Aileen Lucero dari Ecowaste Coalition di Filipina dan Daru Rini dari ECOTON di Indonesia mengilustrasikan bahwa krisis plastik saat ini bukanlah hanya masalah manajemen pengelolaan sampah saja, melainkan masalah yang harus diatasi dengan melihat seluruh siklus hidup plastik. “Masalah dimulai saat bahan bakar fosil diekstraksi untuk menghasilkan plastik sekali pakai (PSP),” pungkas Daru.

Memerangi Solusi Palsu terhadap Pencemaran Plastik

Dalam beberapa tahun terakhir, beberapa solusi palsu telah ditawarkan untuk melawan krisis plastik, mulai dari pembakaran sampah hingga ‘daur ulang bahan kimia’, yang sama sekali tidak membahas siklus hidup plastik secara penuh.

Bagi Sonia Mendoza, Ketua Mother Earth Foundation di Filipina, “Setiap negara harus bertanggung jawab atas limbah yang dihasilkannya dan tidak mengekspornya dengan kedok ‘perdagangan’. Membakar sampah juga bukan pilihan. Waste to Energy (WtE) juga bisa berarti: pemborosan energi.

Melihat umur akhir PSP saat ini, Xuan Quach, ketua Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance, menyoroti bahwa, “WtE dan daur ulang bahan kimia tidak berkelanjutan.” Untuk itu, Nindhita Proboretno dari Nexus 3 Foundation di Indonesia menambahkan, “Teknologi tersebut bukanlah teknologi yang ramah lingkungan dan tidak memiliki tempat di dunia manapun yang saat ini berjuang melawan perubahan iklim.

Senada dengan Nindhita, Xavier Sun, pengurus Taiwan Zero Waste Alliance, menyatakan bahwa “Strategi seperti itu hanya menyebabkan polusi beracun lebih lanjut (seperti bottom ash, fly ash, dan gas rumah kaca (GRK) yang merusak iklim dan kesehatan manusia. Selain itu, mereka mendorong produksi plastik lebih lanjut, dan merusak solusi nyata.”

Bergerak menuju Zero Waste

Sementara itu, Merci Ferrer dari War on Waste-Break Free From Plastic (WOW-BFFP) -Negros Oriental di Filipina, menambahkan bahwa “Proses dengan OC ini akan membawa keadilan dan pengakuan atas pekerjaan masyarakat yang terlibat dalam pekerjaan Zero Waste.

Merangkum sentimen dari semua key leaders, Nalini Shekar dari Hasiru Dala di India, menambahkan, “Laporan tersebut telah mempengaruhi para pengambil keputusan untuk mengalihkan sumber daya berharga yang dimaksudkan untuk solusi Zero Waste yang terdesentralisasi menjadi terpusat, praktik tidak berkelanjutan yang sangat mekanis dan menyebabkan kerugian lain bagi masyarakat. Namun, pencabutan laporan adalah langkah menuju penyembuhan dan membalikkan kerusakan yang dilakukan – menunjukkan sekali lagi bahwa Zero Waste adalah satu-satunya solusi yang berkelanjutan.


Tentang GAIA – GAIA adalah aliansi di seluruh dunia yang terdiri dari lebih dari 800 kelompok, organisasi non-pemerintah, dan individu di lebih dari 90 negara. Dengan pekerjaan kami, kami bertujuan untuk mengkatalisasi perubahan global menuju keadilan lingkungan dengan memperkuat gerakan sosial akar rumput yang memajukan solusi untuk limbah dan polusi. Kami membayangkan dunia tanpa limbah yang adil yang dibangun dengan menghormati batas ekologis dan hak-hak masyarakat, di mana orang bebas dari beban polusi beracun, dan sumber daya dilestarikan secara berkelanjutan, tidak dibakar atau dibuang.

Kontak Media:

Sonia Astudillo, Senior Staf Komunikasi GAIA Asia Pasifik | | +63 9175969286

Vancher, staf komunikasi AZWI | | +62 812-8854-9493

Kia, staf komunikasi AZWI | | +62 852-1580-9537



Bước nhảy vọt lịch sử trong cuộc chiến chống chủ nghĩa thực dân chất thải

Ngày 14 tháng 9 năm 2022 – Hôm nay, Liên minh Toàn cầu về Giải pháp Thay thế Lò đốt (GAIA) ở Châu Á Thái Bình Dương và các tổ chức thành viên của nó đã kết thúc bước đầu tiên của quy trình phục hồi công lý với tổ chức Ocean Conservancy (OC) có trụ sở tại Hoa Kỳ. Quy trình này nhằm mục đích giải quyết những thiệt hại trong nhiều năm do báo cáo “Stemming the Tide” gây ra (hiện đã bị xóa khỏi trang web của OC) bằng cách sửa lại câu chuyện và đồng ý thực hiện các hành động phục hồi theo yêu cầu của cộng đồng và các lĩnh vực bị ảnh hưởng nhiều nhất bởi báo cáo.

Trái ngược với báo cáo năm 2015 đặt trách nhiệm về rác thải nhựa lên vai 5 quốc gia châu Á (Trung Quốc, Indonesia, Philippines, Thái Lan và Việt Nam) trong khi bỏ qua vai trò của các nước phát triển trong việc sản xuất thừa nhựa và xuất khẩu chất thải, quá trình này đang dẫn đến điểm chung mới. Các thỏa thuận bao gồm ưu tiên các chính sách giảm thiểu nhựa, chuyển nguồn lực sang các giải pháp Không Chất thải, lên án các giải pháp sai lầm như đốt nhựa trong cái gọi là lò đốt “biến chất thải thành năng lượng” (WTE) và “tái chế hóa chất” và cơ chế trách nhiệm.

Froilan Grate, Điều phối viên GAIA Châu Á Thái Bình Dương chia sẻ: “Việc rút lại báo cáo chưa từng có tiền lệ này là một cơ hội để ngăn chặn chủ nghĩa thực dân chất thải nhiều thập kỷ qua”. “Ocean Conservancy có nhiệm vụ nâng cao nhận thức của các tổ chức và nhà hoạch định chính sách khác về câu chuyện sai sự thật được tuyên truyền bởi báo cáo. Chúng tôi kêu gọi tất cả các tổ chức tuân thủ các nguyên tắc tổ chức dân chủ khi tương tác với các cộng đồng ở các nước đang phát triển và tôn trọng các giải pháp dựa trên tình hình thực tế của cộng đồng”. Grate khuyến khích những người ủng hộ củng cố quy trình phục hồi công lý.

Được hình thành lần đầu tiên vào năm 1989, chủ nghĩa thực dân chất thải là quá trình các nước giàu và phát triển thể hiện sự thống trị so với các nước kém phát triển khác thông qua việc xuất khẩu chất thải độc hại, khiến các nước tiếp nhận (và thường là thiếu cơ sở hạ tầng) phải đối phó với chất thải, do đó ảnh hưởng nghiêm trọng tới cộng đồng và môi trường của họ.

Christie Keith, Điều phối viên Quốc tế của GAIA, giải thích, “Năm quốc gia châu Á được đề cập trong báo cáo không nên bị đổ lỗi cho rác thải nhựa. Lỗi đó nằm ở các tập đoàn đã sản xuất và đưa lượng nhựa ra môi trường ngày càng tăng – và những người đấu tranh cho các giải pháp không rác cộng đồng (Zero Waste Community) xứng đáng được tôn vinh và trân trọng, chứ không phải bị tấn công. Chúng tôi hoan nghênh cam kết của OC trong việc khắc phục những tác hại đã gây ra và đề cao các giải pháp Không Chất thải.”

Aditi Varshneya, Điều phối viên Thành viên GAIA Hoa Kỳ, cho biết thêm, “Stemming the Tide” cũng gây hại cho cộng đồng theo nhiều cách. Các phát hiện của báo cáo đã làm suy yếu những nỗ lực lâu dài của cộng đồng nhằm đạt được các chính sách bền vững về y tế, quản lý chất thải và tài trợ”.

Rahyang Nusantara của Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia nhấn mạnh rằng, “Báo cáo (‘ Stemming the Tide ’) đã gây hại cho cộng đồng của chúng tôi nhưng chúng tôi không phải là nạn nhân vì chúng tôi có các giải pháp.” David Sutasurya của Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB) cho biết thêm, “Chúng tôi có các giải pháp Không Chất thải để chống lại chất thải”. Sutasurya chia sẻ rằng trong năm đầu tiên của các khu vực thí điểm ở Bandung, các quận đã chuyển thành công 950 kg rác khỏi các bãi chôn lấp mỗi ngày và tiết kiệm được khoảng 63 triệu IDR (4.300 USD) chi phí vận chuyển rác.

Theo Satyarupa Shekhar, Điều phối viên Châu Á Thái Bình Dương của phong trào #breakfreefromplastic, “Báo cáo của OC, được soạn thảo bởi McKinsey & Company, một công ty tư vấn quản lý toàn cầu có khách hàng bao gồm một số nhà gây ô nhiễm nhựa hàng đầu thế giới, đã làm loãng các hạn chế hiện có về đốt rác và mở ra cánh cửa cho các giải pháp sai lầm và các bản sửa lỗi công nghệ gây tranh cãi để đối phó với cuộc khủng hoảng ô nhiễm nhựa. Một số ví dụ rõ ràng là: ở Philippines, nơi mà lệnh cấm đốt rác trên toàn quốc bị đe dọa bởi các đề xuất mới cho phép các nhà máy đốt rác phát điện và ở Indonesia, nơi chính phủ tiếp tục thúc đẩy đốt rác bất chấp phán quyết của Tòa án Tối cao đã thu hồi Quy định của Tổng thống số 18/2016, trong đó đẩy nhanh sự phát triển của các nhà máy điện hoặc lò đốt rác thải.”

Bên cạnh việc rút lại báo cáo, OC thừa nhận sai lầm của mình trong việc tập trung vào quản lý chất thải nhựa và xem xét lại quan điểm của mình về đốt rác phát điện và các công nghệ tương tự khác để đối phó với cuộc khủng hoảng chất thải nhựa đang gia tăng. OC cũng đã thừa nhận lỗi của mình khi không xem xét công việc của các cộng đồng địa phương và những ảnh hưởng sau đó của báo cáo đối với họ.

Hoan nghênh sự thay đổi quan điểm của OC, Aileen Lucero của Liên minh Ecowaste ở Philippines và Daru Rini của ECOTON ở Indonesia đã minh họa rằng cuộc khủng hoảng nhựa hiện nay không phải là vấn đề quản lý chất thải, mà thay vào đó, vấn đề cần được giải quyết bằng cách xem xét toàn bộ vòng đời của nhựa. Rini nói rằng, “vấn đề bắt đầu từ thời điểm nhiên liệu hóa thạch được chiết xuất để sản xuất nhựa sử dụng một lần (SUP).”

Chống lại các giải pháp sai lầm đối với ô nhiễm nhựa

Trong những năm gần đây, một số giải pháp sai lầm đã được đưa ra để chống lại cuộc khủng hoảng nhựa, từ đốt chất thải đến “tái chế hóa học”, chúng không giải quyết được toàn bộ vòng đời của nhựa.

Đối với Sonia Mendoza, Chủ tịch Quỹ Đất Mẹ tại Philippines, “Mỗi quốc gia phải chịu trách nhiệm về chất thải mà mình tạo ra và không xuất khẩu chúng dưới chiêu bài‘ thương mại ’. Đốt chất thải cũng không phải là một lựa chọn. Biến chất thải thành năng lượng (đốt rác phát điện) cũng có thể có nghĩa là: lãng phí năng lượng.”

Nhìn vào vòng đời của nhựa dùng một lần, Xuân Quách, Điều phối viên Liên minh Không rác Việt Nam, nhấn mạnh rằng “Đốt rác phát điện và tái chế hóa chất không bền vững”. Nindhita Proboretno thuộc Tổ chức Nexus 3 ở Indonesia cho biết thêm, “Những công nghệ đó không phải là giải pháp thân thiện với môi trường và không có chỗ đứng trong một thế giới đang đấu tranh chống lại biến đổi khí hậu”.

Xavier Sun, người sáng lập Liên minh Không chất thải Đài Loan, đồng ý, nói rằng các chiến lược như vậy chỉ “gây ra ô nhiễm độc hại hơn nữa (chẳng hạn như tro bụi, tro bay và khí nhà kính (GHG) gây hại cho khí hậu và sức khỏe con người của chúng ta. Ngoài ra, chúng khuyến khích tiếp tục sản xuất nhựa, và phá hoại các giải pháp thực sự.”

Hướng tới Không Chất Thải

Trong khi đó, Merci Ferrer chiến binh của Chống Rác thải (WOW-BFFP) – Negros Oriental ở Philippines, nói thêm rằng “Quá trình này với OC sẽ mang lại công lý và sự công nhận cho công việc của các cộng đồng tham gia vào công việc Không Chất thải”.

Tóm tắt ý kiến của tất cả các nhà lãnh đạo chủ chốt, Nalini Shekar của Hasiru Dala ở Ấn Độ cho biết thêm, “Báo cáo Stemming the Tide của OC đã ảnh hưởng đến các nhà hoạch định chính sách để chuyển hướng các nguồn lực có giá trị dành cho các giải pháp Zero Waste phi tập trung sang các hoạt động không bền vững tập trung, mang tính cơ học cao và gây ra những tổn hại khác cho cộng đồng. Tuy nhiên, việc rút lại báo cáo là một bước hướng tới việc chữa lành và khắc phục những thiệt hại đã gây ra – một lần nữa cho thấy rằng Zero Waste là giải pháp bền vững duy nhất”.


GAIA là một liên minh trên toàn thế giới gồm hơn 800 nhóm cơ sở, tổ chức phi chính phủ và cá nhân tại hơn 90 quốc gia. Với công việc của mình, chúng tôi đặt mục tiêu thúc đẩy sự thay đổi toàn cầu hướng tới công bằng môi trường bằng cách tăng cường các phong trào xã hội cấp cơ sở nhằm thúc đẩy các giải pháp chống lãng phí và ô nhiễm. Chúng tôi hình dung một thế giới công bằng, không rác thải được xây dựng dựa trên sự tôn trọng các giới hạn sinh thái và quyền của cộng đồng, nơi mọi người không phải chịu gánh nặng ô nhiễm độc hại và các nguồn tài nguyên được bảo tồn bền vững, không bị đốt cháy hoặc đổ bỏ.

Para su publicación inmediata: jueves 15 de septiembre de 2022.

Un nuevo informe publicado por miembros de la Alianza Global por Alternativas a la Incineración, GAIA, de México, Ecuador, Chile y Argentina expone las cifras más actuales de importación y exportación de residuos plásticos hacia América Latina. El reporte investigativo contiene información crítica e inédita sobre las importaciones de residuos plásticos que están ingresando a países de América Latina, alertando nuevamente sobre la necesidad de reducir la producción de plásticos y de que cada país gestione sus residuos dentro de sus fronteras.

Estados Unidos nuevamente lidera la exportación de plásticos a América Latina y el Caribe, enviando más de 200 mil toneladas de residuos plásticos a la región entre 2020 y 2021.  Algunos de los principales países receptores fueron México y Ecuador que pasaron de recibir 63 mil toneladas durante el 2020 a 84 mil durante el 2021, y de 6.745 toneladas en 2019 a 8.253 toneladas en 2020 respectivamente. 

Residuos plásticos exportados desde EE.UU a Latinoamérica bajo la Partida 3915 periodo 2020-2021
México147.897  toneladas 
El Salvador20.975 toneladas 
Ecuador12.791 toneladas 
Las fuentes de información para el desarrollo de la investigación de nuestros miembros fueron bases de datos de Datasur, aduanas, Sistema de Información Arancelaria Vía Internet (SIAVI) y consultas a ministerios locales.
Únicos registros oficiales públicos, hasta la fecha, sobre la importación de desechos plásticos en Ecuador. Imagen de una de las inspeciones realizadas en 2021 entre el Ministerio de Ambiente y el Senae. Foto: Cortesía MAE.

El 1 de enero del año 2021 se hizo efectiva la Enmienda de plásticos del Convenio de Basilea, que obliga a los países que deseen exportar plásticos contaminados o mezclados, o que no tengan como destino principal el reciclaje ambientalmente racional, a solicitar consentimiento previo al país receptor, no obstante, no se ha reflejado aún una clara disminución en el flujo de residuos plásticos, lo que es una señal alarmante sobre el cumplimiento de los compromisos internacionales de cada país. Por ejemplo en México, el movimiento internacional de desechos desde y hacia México, incluso ha incrementado. Además, mucho del plástico que ha ingresado como destinado al reciclaje, y que por lo tanto no necesita el consentimiento previo estipulado en la Enmienda de plásticos, ha llegado contaminado o es imposible de reciclar en el país de destino. 

Los datos oficiales del gobierno mexicano indican que del año 2015 al año 2021 las importaciones de desechos plásticos a México se han triplicado, pasando de 58 mil toneladas en 2015 a 175 mil toneladas en 2021. El 94% de estos desechos plásticos provienen de los Estados Unidos de América. Nuestra preocupación es que no hay certeza del destino final de estos desechos plásticos, no sabemos si se usan para alimentar cementeras, en rellenos sanitarios, en tiraderos clandestinos. Creímos que con la entrada en vigor de la enmienda del Convenio de Basilea el movimiento de desechos plásticos entre los países se reduciría, en el caso Mexicano no fue así, el año 2021 es cuando más basura plástica ha ingresado a México. Consideramos que es necesario desmontar esa política pública que promueve a México como el vertedero de nuestro vecino del norte. Solo el poder ciudadano puede lograrlo y estamos trabajando en ello.”

José Manuel Arias de la Asociación Ecológica Santo Tomás A.C., México.

Los plásticos ingresan a cada país bajo la Partida 3915, que corresponde a una clasificación arancelaria para desechos, desperdicios y recortes de plástico; sin embargo, sus subpartidas tienen denominaciones demasiado amplias que no permiten saber exactamente qué se está importando ni el estado en el que llegan los plásticos a cada país. Pero los autores del informe indican que la gravedad del problema no pasa por solo saber cuánto y qué tipo de plástico ingresa al continente porque se trata de materiales que en todos los países se descartan cotidianamente, y que en muchos casos ya representan un problema porque no existe la infraestructura adecuada para su tratamiento, colapsan los rellenos sanitarios que ya están enfrentando una crisis o aún peor, puede conducir a propuestas de falsas soluciones como plantas incineradoras, quema en cementeras o propuestas de plástico-a-combustible. 

“Es una práctica inaceptable porque estamos hablando de un residuos considerado peligroso , con diversos impactos negativos y , que además, se manifiesta como un síntoma de un sistema ya colapsado, el cual insiste en buscar soluciones al final del ciclo de vida del plástico y no en una etapa inicial como es la  generación. Bajo esta lógica, para la región y Chile, los riesgos que se presentan son altos ya que  no están los  sistemas e infraestructura necesaria como tampoco la correcta fiscalización, lo cual permite que se generen muchas fugas a lo largo de toda la cadena, desde que el material es generado, hasta que es puesto en otro país. En función de todo esto, lo importante es monitorear, educar e incidir sobre los impactos de esta práctica a nivel social y político bajo alero de los acuerdos internacionales, como por ejemplo, la convención  de Basilea y su enmienda sobre plásticos.

Matías Roa de la Alianza Basura Cero Chile.

El informe también evidencia los vacíos de información que existen entre aduanas y las instituciones ambientales de cada país, ya que hasta el momento no existe certeza de la peligrosidad ni de las condiciones en las que están ingresando los plásticos, mucho menos se sabe sobre el destino real de cada contenedor, por eso las organizaciones urgen que se transparente antes del ingreso a cada país el detalle del proceso de reciclaje que se pretende realizar, el destino final para poder identificar re-exportaciones (efecto pivote) y llenar cualquier otro vacío respecto al uso de los residuos importados. La razón principal de la falta de coordinación entre entidades, según señalan, sería que el ingreso desmedido de plásticos al continente es de orden económico y no ambiental ni de salud pública. 

“En Ecuador, la importación de desechos plásticos como “materia prima”, está siendo justificada bajo el discurso de economía circular pese a que va en contra del Convenio de Basilea, del acuerdo 061, del art. 227 del Código Orgánico del Ambiental y de varias leyes orgánicas. Se trata de un discurso que pretende “blanquear” el imperialismo de la basura utilizando subterfugios lingüísticos. En esta línea, la “dispensa temporal” se ha convertido en la figura que deja la puerta abierta para que el incumplimiento de las enmiendas de plástico y prohibición del Convenio de Basilea se dé con venia del Estado en un país que no tiene escasez de desechos plásticos y que, por el contrario, entierra en malas condiciones, el 96% de sus residuos. Las cifras de esta expresión colonial son escandalosas: en promedio, cada año se importan alrededor de 13.000 toneladas de desechos plásticos a un costo de más de cinco millones de dólares. Pagamos por recibir la basura, especialmente de los EEUU, perversa aporía.”

María Fernanda Soliz, directora del área de salud de la Universidad Simón Bolívar Ecuador y Alianza basura cero Ecuador.

Concluyen además que los esfuerzos globales para detener el comercio de residuos plásticos deben estar orientados a la disminución en la generación de residuos como objetivo principal, no solo a mejorar los controles aduaneros, al igual que establecer prohibiciones para que países desarrollados envíen sus residuos a aquellos más pobres y con legislaciones débiles. En este sentido, las negociaciones para alcanzar un Tratado global de plásticos jurídicamente vinculante representa una gran oportunidad para avanzar en la resolución de los problemas ambientales, sociales y económicos provocados en todas las etapas del ciclo de los plásticos.

Informe disponible en:

Organizaciones que realizaron informes:

Alianza Basura Cero Chile, Alianza Basura Cero Ecuador, Taller Ecologista, Argentina, Acción Ecológica, Fronteras Comunes, Asociación Ecológica Santo Tomás; México.


  • Camila Aguilera, Alianza Global por Alternativas a la Incineración (GAIA) en América Latina,, +56 951111599 
  • Claire Arkin, Alianza Global por Alternativas a la Incineración (GAIA),, +1 973 444 4869  (en EE.UU)


Civil society organizations, including the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Break Free from Plastic, are calling on leaders in the U.S. and Africa to stop waste colonialism—the illegal importing of waste from countries in the Global North to African nations already impacted by the waste and climate crises. 

Their demand letter was first introduced at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, the first of a series of negotiations following the March adoption at UNEA-5 of a global, legally-binding treaty addressing the full lifecycle of plastics.

The U.S. is one of only three countries that have not ratified the Basel Convention, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste from OECD countries (primarily wealthier nations) to non-OECD countries (primarily low-income countries in the Global South). Recent research from the Basel Action Network found that U.S. ports exported 150 tons of PVC waste to Nigeria in 2021, in violation of the Convention. Many of the exporting ports are located in environmental justice communities, which like their counterparts in Africa are impacted by the waste and climate crises. 

“Whatever waste is not burned in our communities is being illegally sent to relatives and grassroots partners in the global South,” says Chris Tandazo, Community Connections Program Coordinator at New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance. “Fighting for waste justice here would mean waste justice for communities in the Global South. We cannot allow the white supremacist colonial practice of dumping waste in low-income and communities of color to continue. We will continue to organize against polluting industries at home, and globally.”

Rather than stopping plastic pollution at its source, waste colonialism encourages waste management approaches that create severe health implications for workers, communities and the environment by generating significant amounts of greenhouse gases, toxic air pollutants, highly toxic ash, and other potentially hazardous residues. This includes waste incineration, chemical “recycling”, plastic-to-fuel or plastic-to-chemical processes, pyrolysis, and gasification.

“Colonialism is alive and fully functioning in the ways that waste, toxicants, and end-of-life products produced by and for overdeveloped societies move to Indigenous lands,” says Dr. Max Liboiron, director of the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University, Canada. “Without access to other people’s lands and waters, the economic systems of overdeveloped countries simply don’t work. This assumed access to other’s lands and waters is colonialism.”

“Nigeria is already overwhelmed with plastic waste—we barely have enough facilities to recycle internally generated plastics in Nigeria,” says Weyinmi Okotie, Intervention Officer of Green Knowledge Foundation (GKF) Nigeria. “I’m urging the Federal Government of Nigeria to sign the Bamako convention on toxic waste, as it will be an effective legal tool in stemming the importation of toxic wastes into Africa.”  

“Ensuring that countries manage their own waste is the best way to prevent global environmental injustice. It is also essential for countries to truly come to terms with their waste footprint rather than shipping it off in containers. Once countries fully realize the absurdity of wasting precious materials and resources, harming the planet, our climate, and human health in the process, they become ready to shift to local zero waste economies centered around reuse, repair and composting of bio-waste,” says Sirine Rached, Global Plastics Policy Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). 

Media Contact:

Zoë Beery, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative

For more information, see 



Claire Arkin, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), 


Kenya Waste Pickers, in Nairobi, at  Dandora Dumpsite (2022)

The term decolonisation describes the process of indigenous people achieving sovereignty over their land, culture, political and economic systems. African countries have largely achieved political independence from colonial powers, and have attempted to dismantle political systems and symbols of oppression. Sadly, in the 21st century, we are facing a new wave of neo-colonialism from Multinational Corporations. 

Colonial settler objectives are rooted in principles of gaining control and exploiting indigenous territories. Likewise, corporations have taken over public space, destroyed consumer choice and displaced individuals from their traditional mechanisms of subsistence. 

In the waste sector, colonialism is evident in several ways. It can be described as the export of waste from economically powerful countries to lower-income countries, where there is a clear lack of infrastructure to manage problematic waste streams. This is further compounded by the double standards that corporates have by sending cheap, single-use products to African countries- under the guise of development while boasting effective sustainable waste management practices where they operate in the Global North. Petrochemical plants which are part of the plastic production process are often placed in poorer communities at the expense of their health and wellbeing. Waste colonialism is also evident when corporations propose false solutions like Waste-To-Energy incineration (WTE), which disregards and will displace waste pickers and their contribution to the local economy. Fundamentally, these practices of waste colonialism treat people as disposable and that is unacceptable.

In Ghana, a German company McDavid Green Solutions has proposed to construct a facility in the Ashanti region.3  Waste workers in Ghana have helped increase waste management services across the 261 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to 80%, across the country.4 A facility like this risks displacing waste workers who are integral to the country’s waste management system. Since there is a high level of organic waste in the African waste stream, in order to meet the quotas of waste needed to be burnt to make incinerators financially feasible, it would need recyclable materials to be burnt as well.

The way forward |

We need African governments to:

  • Uphold existing legislation like the Basel and Bamako conventions, which prohibit the illegal exportation of waste from economically powerful countries. 
  • Invest in the ongoing discussions around a global plastic treaty, and ensure this mandate reflects the local plastic pollution realities within the region and attempts are made to address the problems of plastic across its entire value chain with significant emphasis on slowing down production.
  • Avoid false solutions like WTE, and rather empower individuals with local solutions to waste management by adopting zero waste practices. 

Last year we commemorated  Africa Day on the 25 May 2021, by releasing a solidarity video on Waste Colonialism.  This year we continued creating awareness on the different impacts and forms of waste colonialism by holding an online meeting with our African member organisations, with presentations from expert speakers. In addition to the online meeting, we developed a sign-on letter on waste colonialism directed to African government, which was launched on 01 June 2022.  

To quote Griffins Ochieng, director of the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development in Kenya: “When waste is within your boundaries, it is your responsibility to deal with it, and assess how you manage this waste. You don’t export this to other countries to live with your problem.”


GAIA and its members are fighting to end Global North plastic waste dumping in Global South countries, and advocating Basel Convention leadership for a worldwide shift towards localized zero waste economies that foster sharply reduced plastic production, discourage false solutions like so-called “chemical recycling,” and end plastic waste burning, which poisons people and planet and harms our climate. 

For more information on the Global Plastics Treaty, visit our webpage.

Policy Brief: Plastics at Basel COP 15

Three years after the Basel Convention COP14 adopted the plastic waste trade amendments that came into force in January 2021, the global plastic waste trade has shifted but remains a cause of environmental injustice, with communities and ecosystems in importing countries bearing a disproportionate portion of the toxic burden associated with the dumping, burning and environmentally-unsound recycling of plastic waste.

Chemical Recycling: Status, Sustainability, and Environmental Impacts

This technical assessment reveals that chemical recycling is polluting, energy intensive, and has a track record of technical failures, and concludes that it is impossible for chemical recycling to be a viable solution in the short window of time left to solve the plastic problem, especially at the scale needed.

waste beach
Comments on the Plastic Waste Technical Guidelines

Comments on the Basel Convention Draft Updated Technical Guidelines on the Environmentally Sound Management of Plastic Wastes and for their Disposal Submitted by Basel Action Network, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Environmental Investigation Agency

Additional Resources

Policy Brief: Plastics Treaty and Waste Trade

Top exporters such as the United States, Germany, the UK, Japan and Australia are placing a disproportionate toxic burden on the environment and communities in importing countries. A Global Plastics Treaty can enact stricter measures on the waste trade to prevent environmental injustices.

Mr Yoga, (left) poses for a portrait with his wife and daughter amongst imported plastic waste at his recycling factory in Bangun Village, near Gresik, Surabaya, Indonesia on 22nd February, 2019.

Investigative Report: Discarded– Communities on the Frontlines of the Global Plastic Crisis

When China closed its borders to foreign waste in 2018, countries in Southeast Asia were flooded with garbage masquerading as recycling, primarily from wealthy countries in the Global North. This investigative report uncovers how communities on the ground were impacted by the sudden influx of foreign pollution, and how they’re fighting back.

Between January and August 2020, the United States shipped 44,173 tons of plastic waste, the same tonnage as almost 300 blue whales, to 15 Latin American countries, approximately 35 containers per day. An investigative report by GAIA LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) members reveals the untold story of how the United States is exporting its plastic problems to Latin America–disregarding international and national laws–and the harm that it’s causing to the Latin American people and environment. 

Policy Brief: Transposing the Basel Convention plastic waste amendments

Before April 2019, most plastic waste flows between countries were uncontrolled under international law. Exporters only had to obtain prior informed consent from importing countries before shipping hazardous plastic waste, as is the case for all hazardous waste under the Basel Convention. However, companies in high-income countries have been exporting mixed, heavily-contaminated and
often unrecyclable plastic waste abroad in order to avoid paying to properly manage it locally.

Basel Action Network: Plastic Waste Transparency Project

Here, activists, policy makers, academics and industry stakeholders can find up-to-date information on the global trade in plastic waste, the countries and actors engaged in it, as well as campaign information to combat the unsustainable trade in plastic waste.


Waste trade is the international trade of waste between countries for further treatment, disposal, or recycling. Often, toxic or hazardous wastes are exported by developed countries to developing countries, such as those in Asia-Pacific. Since 1988, more than a quarter of a billion tonnes of plastic waste has been exported around the world. In 2021, a report by the Environmental Investigative Agency and Rethink Plastic found that if the world is serious about tackling marine plastic pollution, waste trade issues must be addressed, alongside other solutions.

IPEN: Basel Convention Resources

Policy briefs and other resources pertaining to the Basel Convention.

Comments on the Draft Updated. Technical Guidelines on the Environmentally Sound Management pf Plastic Wastes and for their Disposal

GAIA and Basel Action Network recommend that the SIWG and the consultants supporting its work focus on improving these draft guidelines in the was outlined on this publication.

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