Why is our Recycling ending up in Malaysia?
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Image Credit: RitaE from Pixabay
According to The Guardian, 'Millions of tons of waste plastic from British businesses and homes may be ending up in landfill sites across the world'. But is the UK who is supposedly a 'world leader' when it comes to fighting climate change, sending their rubbish to the other side of the world?
The answer is that we are not a world leader. How can that be so when the UK produces 'nearly 5 million tonnes' of the stuff every year. Our answer to this volume of production is to send the plastic waste overseas.
The issue gets worse. Many everyday items which we would presume to be recyclable and therefore are disposed of as such, actually aren't. Take, for example, the disposable coffee cup. Contrary to popular belief, these cups are not made of paper and wax, but paper and plastic.This particular issue is explored in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'War on Plastic', a new BBC documentary exposing and tackling the UK's problem with rubbish, specifically plastic. Sometimes, as is explained in the clip above, this confusion about what is and isn't recyclable can lead to 'contamination', meaning many materials that could have been recycled have to be chucked away. So you've got a load of plastic recycling that isn't contaminated, what happens next? A lot of the time, the UK sends this sorted plastic overseas to be recycled. Obviously, however, that's a lot of plastic. Sometimes this plastic is 'low-grade' and therefore cannot be recycled. This plastic -which doesn't break down- then becomes a big problem. In 2017, China banned the importation of plastic recycling to its borders. Instead of reducing the amount of plastic the UK produces, as would have been the logical thing to do, the government instead began to look to other countries to take on the responsibility of becoming the UK's dumping ground.
Image Credit: Hans from Pixabay
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Lead Image Credit: Hans from Pixabay