Waste Management Inc., the nation’s largest trash hauler, is no longer shipping discarded plastic to countries outside North America.

After months of global outcry over the United States’ role in the plastic pollution crisis, companies that collect and dispose of waste are trying to clamp down on the amount of American refuse that gets dumped in poorer countries. 

“Companies should not be exporting plastic waste for other countries to clean up our mess,” John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaign director, said in a statement released Wednesday. “The U.S. is offloading plastic onto countries with poor waste management in hopes of pushing our pollution crisis out of sight, but this only shifts the burden to others that lack the capacity to deal with it.”

A handful of major waste-hauling companies in the U.S. have already ended the practice of shipping plastic abroad, according to The Last Beach Cleanup, which has partnered with Greenpeace and the Plastic Pollution Coalition to compile a list of the companies’ official policies. Vermont-based Casella Waste Systems told the groups it would stop plastic exports. Three smaller companies also said they do not export plastics. However, more than 40 other companies have not shared their policies. 

The U.S. still exports over 1 million tons of plastic refuse a year, according to a Guardian analysis published in June. Meanwhile, the country recycles only 9.1% of its plastics at home, and that amount is already overwhelming U.S. recycling infrastructure. As a result, most U.S. plastic is likely being sent to landfills or incinerated. 

The U.S. government has been unwilling to take responsibility for the country’s role in the plastic pollution crisis. President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed Asian countries for the 8 million tons of plastics that enter the oceans each year. In May, almost all of the world’s nations signed an agreement to limit the amount of unrecyclable plastic waste shipped to developing countries, the U.S. refused to sign.


Read the full and original story at HuffingtonPost.ca