Images| Thousands of tons of UK plastic dumped across world

Thousands of tons of plastic scrap collected for recycling from British households have been transported and dumped on sites across the world. Environmental experts have warned that there is “no other solution” for dealing with waste which is now stockpiled in countries as far away as Poland and Hong Kong than to consign it to landfill.

A documentary by Sky News, Dirty Business, exposes a system that makes it more lucrative to export our plastic recycling than process it ourselves.  Concerns were raised about how the system could be inflating the recycling rates and failing to channel investment into recycling in the UK.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the UK has “been exporting too much waste.”

“What we need to do is to make sure that we reduce the amount that we produce and also process ore of it at home,” he added.

Every year households in the UK throw 22 million tons of waste into the bin, EU targets demand that the country recycles half of that by 2020- but rates are stagnating at just 44%. That has been the reason for the plastic being exported across the world.

LEATHERHEAD, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 27: Bales of plastic bottles await removal from the Materials Recovery Facility on APril 27, 2006 in Leatherhead, England. The GBP5 million plant has an annual capacity to sort and process 100,000 tonnes of paper, tin cans and cardboard for recycling. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

But the reality is that once it leaves UK shores, no one really checks if it is recycled. China, however, has been importing  millions of tons of plastic rubbish every years to make toys, mats and part that it sells back to the rest of the world.

Photo Credit – Escape From America

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