RECYCLABLE waste from British households is being sold across the globe. Nearly 13 million tons of paper, plastic and metal were shipped to 75 countries last year, including Guinea, Libya and Azerbaijan, according to Treasury documents obtained following a Freedom of Information request. With households now producing record amounts of recyclable waste, private companies employed by councils to process Britain’s rubbish are unable to cope.
Instead, they sell the waste to developing countries which use it to manufacture new products. Environmental campaigners said the millions of miles clocked up by “waste ships” would generate huge levels of carbon emissions while critics are demanding to know why councils are employing increasingly aggressive methods to meet Government targets on recycling if they cannot deal with current levels. Shadow Communities Secretary Erik Pickles said:
“It is farcical that Ministers have resorted to exporting rubbish to places as far away as Libya.”
Turkey is the most popular destination, taking 2.4 million tons of metal, 260 million tons of plastic and 13 million tons of paper. China is next with 1.9 million tons of paper, 390,000 tons of metal and 78,000 tons of plastic. Other bizarre destinations for British rubbish include Ghana, Vietnam and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Campaigners are worried as EU rules do not force companies to check that waste is recycled on arrival. Dr Michael Warhurst, or Friends of the Earth, said: “Councils and business have a moral obligation to find out where the waste is going.” The Local Government Association said: “Councils are committed to making sure all possible recycling is done in the UK. But companies will exploit overseas demand for recyclable waste.” A spokesperson for the Department for Environmental said:
“The export of waste for disposal, as opposed to recycling or for energy recovery, abroad is illegal.”
As an aside, thieves are now taking to stealing cheap, often abandoned cars instead of the luxury vehicles from Britain’s streets, and selling them through scrapyards, who export them to places like China where the demand for metal is going through the roof, along with the prices!
Check it out HERE.