Japan is Now Overwhelmed by Plastic Waste, After China Ban

21 Octobre, 2018, 13:07 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Catherine Conway Founder of Unpackaged speaks to Sky News

Council leaders are calling for manufacturers to contribute more towards local authority costs for processing recycling and to reduce the amount of material such as black plastic trays which is used.

Major problems in the plastic recycling industry are costing local councils in England up to £500,000 extra a year, as they struggle to deal with the continuing fallout from import bans imposed by countries who are no longer able to take the UK's waste.

A snapshot poll by the Local Government Association found one in five councils has felt a direct impact from China's moves to restrict imports of waste plastic and mixed paper.

Two of the plastic recycling bins located in Bitterne, one of the ten locations around Southampton.

'It's essential that the Government provides support to help councils offset the loss of income they face as a result of the ban and encourage manufacturers to use more recyclable materials.

"It's clear that the ban by China on imported waste, which could soon be implemented by other countries, could have a marked impact on councils' ability to recycle", said Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the LGA.

"Councils want manufacturers to play their part in the battle against unnecessary and unrecyclable waste".

"Our ambition is to handle more of our waste in the UK".

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Citing concerns about skyrocketing levels of environmental pollution in Asia's biggest nation, Beijing in 2017 banned the import of all non-industrial plastic, effectively blocking millions of tons of plastic waste that now piles up in community garbage dumps in many nations.

As a result several councils are giving up on collecting and recycling plastic separately which means an increasing amount is being burned for energy or buried in landfill. Japan, which previous year exported about half of its 1.5 million tons of annual plastic waste, is now piled higher and deeper in its own garbage, with many local governments struggling to cope with the problem.

A number of councils are re-thinking their recycling policies as dealing with unwanted plastic becomes more hard.

Councillor Maureen Penny said some plastic sent overseas "isn't properly recycled" and the council wants to "know where every bit" of it goes.

It added that China's ban on plastic waste imports had meant the United Kingdom recycling industry has "had to find other countries that are able to take this waste for recycling".

Growing markets are emerging in Turkey and the Netherlands, where there are also allegations of abuse within the system and doubts about whether the plastic is being left to leak into the oceans.

This compares with countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, where retailers and producers are made to fully fund the cost of household recycling collections.

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