Recycling: Where is the plastic waste mountain? (UK exported a total of…
Where is the plastic waste mountain?
A year ago, experts warned that the UK could face a mountain of waste plastic.
Three years ago, the UK was exporting half a million tonnes of plastic to China and Hong Kong - accounting for almost two-thirds of all our plastic sent abroad.
China introduced its ban on "foreign garbage" as part of a move to upgrade its industries 12 months ago.
At the time, the UK recycling industry warned that the decision would be a "game-changer" and that it would be a struggle to deal with the country's waste.
But thanks to other countries taking our waste plastic instead, the plastic mountain hasn't appeared.
UK exported a total of 611,000 tonnes of recovered plastic packaging to other countries.
Where did the plastic packaging go in 2018?
Turkey: 80,000 tonnes
Poland is in third place on the league table
Malaysia imported 105,000 tonnes
Where there's waste plastic there's potentially profit - because some of it can be lucratively recycled.
Which countries recorded the biggest increase in UK plastic over the period?
On this measure, Malaysia and Turkey remain at the top while Indonesia stays in the top five.
The new entries
are Spain and France.
Of course, sending material abroad for recycling doesn't necessarily mean it actually gets recycled.
The waste industry is notorious in some places for its links with criminal activity.
In the wake of mass public alarm about plastic pollution we may also be producing less plastic waste
Also, we are burning more of it.
BBC - 1 January 2019