KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia has allowed entry of a container of plastic waste shipped from the United States, reversing previous opposition after finding it held only clean, recyclable material and did not violate a new United Nations treaty banning trade in contaminated plastics.
Signatories to the Basel Convention, which came into force on Jan. 1, may only trade plastic waste if it is clean, sorted and easy to recycle – unless the importing country has granted an exemption.
Malaysia became the leading destination for the world’s plastic trash after China banned imports in 2018 and has returned thousands of tonnes of plastic scrap since then.
The Southeast Asian had previously said it would return the US shipment, which was shipped from Los Angeles on March 14, as it was believed to be carrying hazardous waste.
Plastic waste piled outside an illegal recycling factory in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, Malaysia October 14, 2018.Reuters
But its environment ministry said on