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Malaysia returns plastic waste to UK

42 containers of plastic waste to be returned to the UK from Malaysia

Authorities have stated that the United Kingdom will be taking back 42 containers filled with plastic waste that were illegally shipped to Malaysia.

After China’s ban on scrap imports disrupted the flow of more than 7m tonnes of trash per year, Malaysia became the world’s main destination for plastic waste. Hundreds of containers of plastic waste have arrived in the country without the required permits, and have been held at ports across Malaysia.

In a joint statement released by Malaysia’s environment ministry and the British High Commission, the 42 containers the UK will take back had arrived at Penang Port between March 2018 and March 2019. According to the statement: “The containers… were deemed illegal as they failed to comply with the necessary import papers.”

Earlier this year Malaysia vowed to send plastic waste back to the source country and get them to pay for transportation costs.

Dozens of recycling factories – many unlicensed – have cropped up in the country since the Chinese ban, with authorities increasing scrutiny on them as residents complain of environmental damage. Most of the plastic waste ends up burnt or buried in landfills, as it is contaminated or low-quality non-recyclable plastic from developed countries.

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