UK needs to find domestic solutions following China waste ban

The latest figures show that the UK has simply resorted to exporting its waste elsewhere. Photo credit – Pixabay

UK needs to find domestic solutions following China waste ban

It should have been the perfect opportunity for the British recycling industry to come to fruition.

For years, the UK had been exporting the bulk of its recycling to other countries, principally China.

However, as China’s ban on imports of 24 types of mixed waste came into force, there was concern that the UK government hadn’t fully grasped the ramifications of the policy, and the extent to which China had previously been helping them:

”With 2018 approaching, the UK urgently needs a new waste and recycling policy” – was the headline that I chose to illustrate those concerns.

There were numerous British press reports in the aftermath of the ban that waste was building-up at British ports and recycling facilities. Surely, this would be the kick that the industry needed to implement necessary domestic solutions to process this waste?

The latest figures show that, to the contrary, the UK has simply resorted to exporting its waste elsewhere.

Although total waste exports from the country fell from 243 million KGs in the first four months of 2017 to 215 million KGs in the same period this year, much of this decline can be attributed to the aforementioned backlog.

Indeed, the statistics show that waste exports to many other countries such as Thailand and Vietnam have increased, whilst those to Malaysia have tripled.

Rupert Reid

Pilot and Senior Broadcast Journalist at Panda Radio. You can find him on Twitter @rupertreid