Asia Recycling Waste Management

Malaysia Returns 3000 Tonnes of Plastic Waste

Malaysia has said it will send back 3,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the UK, America, Australia and Canada.

The mountain of plastic includes cables from the UK, compact discs from Bangladesh and household waste from the US.

Sixty shipping containers filled with contaminated waste had been smuggled into illegal processing facilities in the country, said environment minister Yeo Bee Yin.

She showed reporters the waste at Port Klang, outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.

It included cables from the UK, CDs from Bangladesh, contaminated milk cartons from Australia and electronic and household waste from North America, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China.

Ten containers will be sent back within two weeks, said the environment minister as the country takes action to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich countries.

Sky News reported last year how two-thirds of the UK’s plastic recycling is transported to sites across the world, often in the developing world.

It is often more lucrative to export the plastic than process it domestically because land and labour are cheaper abroad.

But the reality is that once it leaves our shores no one really checks whether it is recycled and the National Audit Office has said it could in fact end up in landfill.

The UK used to send much of its plastic to China for processing, where it was used to make items such as computers, toys and appliances,

However, China banned imports of the world’s plastics in January 2018, meaning other countries have taken on a heavier load.

There are concerns the system of exporting waste could be inflating the UK’s recycling rates and failing to channel investment into recycling facilities here.

CLOSING REMARKS

  • Is this the top of the iceberg, or shall we say … the top of the garbage patch?
  • Do you think there might be a plastic recycling fiasco in the making?  Do you think there might be a few skeletons in the closet of the plastic recycling industry?
  • Don’t you think the plastic recycling fairy tale starts to look like an old man with a beard, dressed in red and  driving around a sleigh pulled by reindeers?

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This article was published on news.sky.com