UK 'faces build-up of plastic waste'

UK 'faces build-up of plastic waste'
From BBC - December 31, 2017

The UK's recycling industry says it does not know how to cope with a Chinese ban on imports of plastic waste.

Britain has been shipping up to 500,000 tonnes of plastic for recycling in China every year, but now the trade has been stopped.

At the moment the UK cannot deal with much of that waste, says the UK Recycling Association.

Its chief executive, Simon Ellin, told the BBC he had no idea how the problem would be solved in the short term.

"It's a huge blow for us... a game-changer for our industry," he said. "We have relied on China so long for our waste 55% of paper, 25% plus of plastics.

"We simply do not have the markets in the UK. It's going to mean big changes in our industry."

China has introduced the ban from this month on "foreign garbage" as part of a move to upgrade its industries.

Other Asian nations will take some of the plastic, but there will still be a lot left.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has admitted that he was slow to spot the problem coming.

The UK organisation Recoup, which recycles plastics, said the imports ban would lead to stock-piling of plastic waste and a move towards incineration and landfill.

Peter Fleming, from the Local Government Association, told the BBC: "Clearly there's a part to play for incineration but not all parts of the country have incinerators.

'Wrong answer'

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