The U.S. did not sign a historic agreement to cut plastic waste across the globe

More than 180 nations agreed to collectively curb plastic waste pollution.

A water bottle, a six-pack ring, a food container. Those items, plus 7,999,998 pieces of plastic find their way into the oceans every single day, according to Surfers Against Sewage. Over the year, that amounts to 8 million metric tons deposited into our waters. Needless to say, plastic pollution is a problem and the United Nations is recognizing that.

In an effort to curb plastic waste pollution, 187 nations—nearly every country in the world–agreed on Friday to add plastic to the Basel Convention, a UN treaty that regulates movement of hazardous waste from one country to the next, according to news reports.

But the U.S. was not one of them.


The amendment will require consent from receiving countries before plastic waste is traded. The U.S. will have to abide by the treaty, even though it did not ratify it. That means the U.S. must ask China’s and Malaysia’s governments, for example, before sending those countries plastic waste. 

Many countries have begun to restrict imports in an effort to deal with plastic littering their beaches. It’s said to help stop the use of developing countries as a dumping ground.

The deal pertains to products used in many industries, including healthcare, technology, aerospace, fashion, and food and beverages.

The outdoor industry is helping curb plastic waste through the Plastic Impact Alliance and Promise. More than 150 brands have signed up to host a water station and reject single-use plastic at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in June.