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Waste plastic from the UK is polluting the globe

Waste plastic from the United Kingdom polluting the globe!

Literally thousands of tons of plastic scrap collected for recycling from British households have been transported and dumped on sites across the world. This shocking revelation was revealed from a recent freedom of information request.

Apparently some 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.

But why is this happening? The simple answer is money! The practice of sending our waste plastic overseas makes it more lucrative to export our plastic recycling than to process it ourselves.

More importantly it raises serious concerns that this practice could be inflating our recycling rates and failing to channel investment into recycling here in the United Kingdom. Even British government ministers have acknkowledged that the UK has been exporting too much waste, and that we need to make sure that we reduce the amount that we produce and also process more of it at home.

Why are plastics exported?

Every year British households throw twenty two million tons of waste into the rubbish bin. EU targets demand that we recycle half of that by 2020, sadly we only seem to be managing about a 44% recycling rate.

Cheaper land and labour abroad means a lot of our plastic is exported to be reprocessed. But the reality is that once the rubbish leaves our shores, no one ensures that it is actually recycled. Entire shipments of waste have been traced to the far east from Britain that simply end up in landfill instead of being recycled.

The most reported problem from overseas is that the receiving party expected to receive only clear bottles, but the load was contaminated with so many other materials, it was too expensive to sort and recycle as the intention had been originally. When this happens, the waste materials simply end up in landfill.

The problem is that if the shipment has been registered as recycled by the exporter in Britain, it counts towards Britains recycling targets, whether it is actually recycled or not.

Another reason to export our plastic waste is down to demand from overseas. For example, China had been importing millions of tons of plastic rubbish every year to make a host of products it can sell back to the rest of the world. Because of this demand, Britain has been sending two thirds of its plastic waste exports to China. However, as stated earlier, all manner of other rubbish was mixed in with it. So in July last year the Chinese government announced it would ban imports of the worlds plastics from January 2018, this means the United Kingdom will have to find somewhere else to take its unwanted waste plastics.

Because of the Chinese ban on poor quality waste plastic exports from the United Kingdom, other countries may end up with our waste plastic and the vicious cycle repeats itself again. In Thailand for example, it was recently noted that waste from everyday British household goods, including branded packaging that is only available here, had been stacked up on a dock for over a year.

What can be done to help reduce this waste issue?

Recycling businesses, exporters and councils have all stressed the importance of the public putting the correct recycling in the correct bins. But they called on the Government to do more to create a system the public can trust and really get behind.

Industry hoped that plans would be laid out in the Governments twenty five year environment plan, which was published in January 2017. The plan promised to reform the relevant waste regulations but provided no detail on how it would do so. It also pledged more information in its resources and waste strategy, which is due out during 2018.

Although apparently negative, many have suggested that the China ban could be positive opportunity for Britain to tackle their waste plastic issue. It could force us in the United Kingdom to rethink how we deal with our plastics after we use it.

One thing is for certain, if we continue exporting plastics abroad, particularly where the infrastructure is worse than in China, we could go on believing our waste is being recycled when it isn't. The last thing we want is for our plastic waste to be burned or be treated in a way that is negative for the local environment, wherever that may be.

Until we have sorted our waste issues out, we have to start taking more responsibility for our own waste, as the amount of plastics we produce keeps on increasing.


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Having a good clear out of the garden shed or garage produces way more rubbish than you ever imagined possible. Decorating preparation can also produce a good deal of waste, such as old skirting boards and stripped wood chip paper that his been up since the war, so a skip is a great way to dispose of the waste.

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Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 0800 169 8588, email us at stevenageskiphire@live.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd - Envirowaste Recycling Centre - Jacks Hill - Graveley - Herts SG4 7EQ

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd
Envirowaste Recycling Centre
Jacks Hill
Graveley
Herts SG4 7EQ

Articles
A guide to what can and cannot go into a Stevenage Skip Hire hired skip
Recycling your waste materials in Stevenage
Plastic waste from Hertfordshire may be sent overseas instead of recycled
Just how recyclable is the plastic we use in Hertfordshire
What happens to all the plastic we throw out in Hertfordshire
Fly tipping: A modern day curse in Hertfordshire
Fly tipping: A modern day curse in Hertfordshire
Recycled plastic for roads and pavements in Hertfordshire
Seaweed sachets offer an alternative to plastic in Hertfordshire
The increasing problem of plastics in our oceans
Plastic pollution in the ocean starts from the rivers
Waste reduction in Hertfordshire
The problem with plastic pollution in Hertfordshire
Article with advice from Stevenage Skip Hire on ways to reduce your plastic waste
Article about why plastic microbeads are a load of rubbish from Stevenage Skip Hire
Article about why waste plastic from the UK is polluting the globe from Stevenage Skip Hire
Article about hiring a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire rather than using the local dump
Article about hiring a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire for your garden waste
Article about getting a skip and avoid fly tipping in Hertfordshire
Article about waste and recycling from Stevenage Skip Hire
Article about hiring a skip instead of going to your local Hertfordshire tip
Article about hiring a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire for your soil and mud
Article with useful information about skip hire in Hertfordshire
Article about hiring a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire to save you time effort and money
Article about the benefits of skip hire from Stevenage Skip Hire in Hertfordshire
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