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Malaysia to return plastic waste to countries

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 28, 2019
Malaysia has said it will send back some 3,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the UK, US, Canada and Australia, in a move to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations.
Environment minister Yeo Bee Yin
Asia   Environment minister Yeo Bee Yin
Environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said containers stacked with contaminated waste had been smuggled into illegal processing facilities in Malaysia.

She said 10 containers will be shipped back within two weeks as she showed reporters contents of the waste at a port outside Kuala Lumpur.

The waste that was displayed included cables from the UK, contaminated milk cartons from Australia and compact discs from Bangladesh. Also shown were electronic and household waste from the US, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China.

Ms Yeo said Malaysia and many developing countries have become new targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year.

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg (due) to the banning of plastic waste by China,” she said.

“Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world… we will fight back. Even though we are a small country, we can’t be bullied by developed countries.”

In one case alone, Ms Yeo said a UK recycling company exported more than 50,000 metric tons of plastic waste in about 1,000 containers to Malaysia over the past two years.