Plastic Waste From The UK Being Dumped In Turkey…
Have you ever wondered what happens to your plastic waste once you’re finished with it? A new report from environmental charity Greenpeace shows that over half of the household plastic packaging the government claims is recycled is actually being sent to other countries.
Sadly, the amount the UK sends abroad every day is the equivalent of three and a half Olympic swimming pools… that’s a lot of plastic waste. The majority of these countries have extremely low recycling rates and tend to burn the waste illegally.
China was a key destination for most of our “recycling” but in 2017, they announced to ban the import of most plastic waste. As of now, more than half of our plastic waste is going to Turkey (209,642 tonnes in 2020) and Malaysia (65,000 tonnes in 2020) to be burned, piled into mountains, dumped in rivers and oceans, and left at the side of roads. It has been reported that the toxic fumes and smoke from plastic waste are causing residents in Malaysia to have breathing difficulties, sleeping problems and nausea.
The UK and EU rules state that plastic waste should not be exported to countries unless it is going to be recycled… these rules are clearly being broken. In fact, Greenpeace says they checked 10 different locations in southern Turkey and found plastic bags and packaging from UK supermarkets and shops at all of them. The charity also discovered a coronavirus antigen test, suggesting that the waste was less than a year old.
Greenpeace is urging the UK government to take action and solve the wider problem. They want the government to commit to a 50% reduction in single-use plastic by 2025.
Don’t stop recycling, instead sign petitions banning single-use plastic packaging in supermarkets.