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Shipping firm CMA CGM to stop transporting plastic waste



The CMA CGM Group will stop carrying plastic waste on its ships, amid growing complaints that exports for recycling in other countries are taking an environmental toll.


Chief executive Rodolphe Saade announced the pledge on Friday as part of the One Ocean Summit organized by French President Emmanuel Macron.


The decision to haul zero plastic waste is effective on 1 June 2022.


The liner operator described the move as a “demonstration of its commitment to protecting the environment and biodiversity”.


It said each year 10m tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the sea, a figure that could triple in 20 years, causing damage to marine ecosystems.


“The causes of this pollution include open-air storage and the absence of processing infrastructure for plastic waste that does not actively get recycled or reused,” it said.


“With the decision that it will no longer transport plastic waste onboard its ships, CMA CGM will prevent this type of waste from being exported to destinations were sorting, recycling or recovery cannot be assured.”


Scrap plastic exports are the subject of growing scrutiny because of leakage into the environment of waste that is meant for recycling.


In the US, which is a major exporter, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine has urged the creation of a new national strategy this year to stem the flow of plastics.


China was the biggest buyer of US plastic scrap for recycling until it banned imports in 2018.

The market shifted to other countries, such as Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, according to a 2021 report by the academies.

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