Malaysia to return 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste
May 30, 2019 - Malaysia is to send around 3,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste back to the wealthy countries that shipped it there, in a stand against becoming a dumping ground for the world’s “recycled” garbage.
Last year, Malaysia became the world’s hot spot for plastic waste after China banned its importation – disrupting the flow of more than 7 million tonnes of trash a year.
The Malaysian government has now declared war plastic, saying 60 shipping containers of trash that had been imported illegally would be sent back – this comes hard on the heels of them returning 69 containers to Canada in mid-May.
Greenpeace’s recent “Recycling Myth” report uncovered blatant regulation violations in the disposal of plastic, including dumping and open-air burning, and illegal practises contributing to environmental pollution and harmful health impacts for Malaysians.
The investigation found the country’s plastic recycling industry to be overwhelmed by the influx and unable accommodate the waste in a way that is sustainable and acceptable by the government’s own standards.
Ninety percent of waste is exported from high-income countries and then all too often either openly burned or dumped in low-income countries. Globally, only 9% of plastic waste is actually recycled, 12% is incinerated, and the remaining 79% ends up in landfill or the natural environment.
Since China banned plastic waste imports in January 2018, countries in Southeast Asia – particularly Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam – have accepted an increased amount of plastic waste.
- ‘Recycling’ from developed world dumped in Malaysia and left to rot (Greenpeace)
- Where does your plastic waste end up? (National Geographic)
- Malaysia to send 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste back to countries of origin (Reuters)
- Plastic waste dumped in Malaysia will be returned to UK, US and others (CNN)
- Over 180 countries – not including the US – agree to restrict global plastic waste trade (CNN)