A national investigation has discovered exported recycling found in illegal dump sites in Malaysia, triggering a response from Guernsey Waste who wants to assure islanders that our recycling is being properly processed.
Greenpeace published the findings of an investigation under its news organisation ‘Unearthed’. It found ‘flaws in the UK’s recycling exports system’ that has seen plastic packaging from UK brands strewn across illegal dump sites instead of being properly recycled.
“We have seen the media reports of UK waste in illegal dumps in Malaysia and other countries, which is quite upsetting,” said GW Manager, Sarah Robinson.
“From what we can tell from the coverage, it appears to be the sort of waste one can get from co-mingled municipal collections. In other words, lots of different recyclables being all mixed together, which then have to go to a sorting facility before they can be sent on to different reprocessing facilities.”
Pictured: Guernsey Waste continually visits the UK sites where our recycling ends up.
It’s understood that the illegally dumped waste making headlines is comprised of rejected items that cannot be recycled properly because they’ve been contaminated.
These items should get exported with general waste for ‘energy recovery’ off island. It comes as GW urges people to properly clean their recycling before putting it in their blue bags.
“Having been through the contents of nearly 400 blue bags, I think we would just like to remind islanders of that,” said recycling officer, Tina Norman-Ross.
“We don’t want people thinking that they need to scrub everything until it’s spotless, but if they could empty any leftovers into their food waste bin and rinse out any remnants, that will help.”
Pictured: “From the media coverage, the material that has ended up in these countries appears to be items that have been rejects from a sorting facility or processor. They should still not have ended up where they have though,” said Ms Robinson.
GW undertakes numerous safeguarding practices to make sure that the waste we produce gets processed properly.
“Our sorted and recyclable plastic waste is shipped by Mayside to a processor in the UK. Our staff have visited that company, and have seen their sorting operation, and the lengths that they go to to extract as much recyclable material as possible,” continued Ms Robinson.
“We have also been to the plant where they reprocess some of these materials for supply to packaging manufacturers.
“Similarly, we have been to the processor that receives our cardboard recycling, and seen first-hand how that material is turned back into new packaging. We have also visited the facilities that process our food waste and our general waste, and who deal with our batteries, textiles and glass.
“We can therefore be confident that everything collected via kerbside is suitably processed before it leaves the island to ensure it is of high quality and should meet prime demand for processors,” she concluded.
You can read the Greenpeace article ONLINE.
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