Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, supports the call from campaign group A Plastic Planet for a total ban on plastic waste exports to the developing world...
Two-thirds of plastic waste that is separated for recycling in the UK is currently sent abroad for processing, on the basis that it will be recycled and turned into new products.
In 2017-18, Malaysia alone imported 105,000 tonnes of UK plastic. However concerns have been raised about its high rate of plastic waste mismanagement, and the reality that much of the waste is actually being dumped in landfill.
Historically, much of this country's waste has been sent to China. British companies alone have shipped more than 2.7m tons of plastic waste to China and Hong Kong since 2012. This is two-thirds of the UK’s total waste plastic exports, according to data from Greenpeace released last year.
However, in the summer of 2017, China announced that it would no longer import 24 kinds of solid waste in a campaign against yang laji or “foreign garbage”. This has left many countries, including the UK, looking for a new home for its waste which has resulted in it being shipped to countries such Malaysia and Turkey.
The UK needs to be more responsible in dealing with our waste and not pass on the buck to some of the poorest people in the world. We should deal with it here on our own soil. The government need to invest in recycling infrastructure. This will create jobs, encourage recycling and stop UK waste being dumped in a landfill on the other side of the world.
Wera Hobhouse said: “I strongly support A Plastic Planet’s campaign to ban the export of UK waste plastic to developing countries around the world. It is shocking to hear how much of it ends up in landfills. We need to invest in technology and infrastructure here in the UK so we can surpass our recycling target of 50% by 2020.”
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