The Circular Economy Runs Through Basel

As countries and companies move toward a more circular and sustainable economy, understanding the Basel Convention’s current and future controls on international trade in materials destined for recycling is essential. Beveridge & Diamond lawyers Paul Hagen (Principal, Washington, DC), Russ LaMotte (Principal, Washington, DC), and Dacie Meng (Associate, Washington, DC) address this topic in the September/October 2021 edition of the Environmental Law Institute’s The Environmental Forum.

The article, “The Circular Economy Runs Through Basel,” discusses the emergence of the Basel Convention as the key international legal framework governing the circular economy. The authors highlight current challenges with the current control system and offer recommendations for modernizing the Convention. The article also examines trade frictions that may arise from the recent expansion of the Convention to cover most plastic wastes and proposals to expand the Convention further to cover all non-hazardous electrical and electronic waste and some used equipment managed for repair and reuse. The authors note the importance of securing U.S. ratification of the treaty to ensure the U.S. is a full participant in the emerging circular economy.

"There are several pathways for modernizing the Basel Convention to ensure it delivers on its core focus of ensuring environmentally sound management of wastes while also furthering a more circular economy."

The Environmental Forum also features sidebar perspectives from Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, and James Pennington, Lead of Circular Economy and China Partnerships at the World Economic Forum.

Read the full article.

Beveridge & Diamond's Consumer Products and Product Stewardship, Global Supply Chains practices work with U.S. and multinational companies that make, distribute, transport, or sell consumer products in a hyper-competitive and evolving consumer goods market. Firm attorneys have represented business interests in the negotiation and implementation of the Basel Convention and related international initiatives relevant to the circular economy in the U.S. and globally. For more information, please contact the authors.