World’s third-largest shipping container fleet bans transport of plastic waste

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In an effort to improve recycling efforts, the world’s third-largest shipping company said it will no longer transport plastic waste from June 1.

France-based CMA CGM Group says it has taken the “historic decision” to stop shipping post-consumer plastic – a first in the shipping industry – to help protect the oceans and biodiversity.

According to Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, this decision will prevent plastic waste from being transported to regions that lack the infrastructure to sort, recycle and recover it properly.

The CMA CGM Group made this announcement during the One Ocean Summit in France earlier this month. Although the company did not specify which categories of plastic waste it would ban, it says it transports around 50,000 standard shipping containers of plastic waste each year.

Shipping plastic

In 2020, APM-Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, said it would stop shipping recovered paper, plastic and other waste to China and Hong Kong. The move was announced to “fully comply with the requirements of the government of the People’s Republic of China to import zero solid waste from 2021,” the company said.

Maersk’s announcement follows similar moves by Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Hapag-Lloyd, the second and fifth largest shipping companies.

According to the CMA CGM Group, ten million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year.

Courtesy of Vivianne Lemay on Unsplash

“If no action is taken, this figure is expected to triple over the next 20 years to reach 29 million tonnes per year, which will cause irreversible damage to marine ecosystems, fauna and flora,” the Commission said. society.

“The causes of this pollution include open storage and the lack of infrastructure to deal with plastic waste that is not actively recycled or reused.”

CMA CGM affirms that its decision is in line with “making the preservation of biodiversity one of the priorities of its CSR policy and developing more responsible and fair trade for everyone and for the planet”.

Experts have warned that plastic could outnumber fish in the world’s oceans by 2040 if there is no immediate action to curb plastic production and improve recycling or disposal rates. proper disposal.

Breaking the plastic cycle

“We welcome this historic decision by CMA CGM. It is clear that they understand the social and health impacts on affected communities and see firsthand the harmful effects of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystems,” Jan Dell of Last Beach Cleanup said in a statement.

“It’s the smart and responsible business decision to end the trade in toxic plastic waste. Business cannot succeed on a planet suffocated by plastic pollution. Last Beach Cleanup lobbied shipping companies to take measures against plastic waste.

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Courtesy of SGR at Unsplash

Dell hailed the move as a “great victory to stop waste imperialism and plastic pollution.”

The Basel Action Network (BAN), which has also urged shipping companies to stop transporting plastic, also backed the decision.

“CMA CGM’s decision to forgo short-term benefits for long-term planetary health sets a bold precedent for corporate leadership,” said BAN Director Jim Puckett. “We are now calling on each of the other major shipping companies to end their own trade in plastic waste and also demonstrate their commitment to protecting the health of our oceans and our communities around the world.”

Featured image Nick Fewings via Unsplash