Japan facing growing sea of plastic waste with limited capacity to process

Mindy Sparks
October 22, 2018

Illegally laundering plastic waste to China via the Netherlands.

Local authorities are calling for manufacturers to help pay the cost of recycling their products and for help in preventing the wrong material ending up in recycling collections.

China's ban on imports of 24 types of solid waste materials, such as soda bottles, mixed paper, recycled steel and newsprint, has impacted the recycling chain across the globe.

A number of councils are re-thinking their recycling policies as dealing with unwanted plastic becomes more hard.

As a result several councils are giving up on collecting and recycling plastic separately which means an increasing amount is being burned for energy or buried in landfill.

In Southampton, the council has reportedly chose to remove its plastic recycling banks, meaning residents are unable to recycle mixed plastic such as pots, tubs and trays, which are not part of the regular kerbside collections. Many other councils are expected to follow suit. According to the EA, one firm been stopped at United Kingdom ports 57 times since 2015 over concerns about contaminated plastic waste.

More than 5% of the 114 exporters licensed by the Environment Agency to export plastic packaging waste have had their accreditation suspended or cancelled as part of the investigation.

Much of the UK's recycling was previously sent to China and since the restrictions came in at the beginning of the year, councils have been forced to find other options.

"This is a national issue affecting other local authorities around the country".

In results released Thursday, some 25 percent of 102 local Japanese governments responding to an Environment Ministry questionnaire acknowledged that the amount of plastic waste stockpiled in regional scrap companies rose sharply between January and July, as municipalities reported waste dumps reaching and even exceeding the legal limit, according to Japan Times.

The Daily Mail has led the way in highlighting the scourge of global plastic pollution with its Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign.

The council also hopes the extra plastic going into regular waste bags will take up more space and encourage people to recycle other material properly, instead of throwing it out.

"It's clear that the ban by China on imported waste, which could soon be implemented by other countries, could have a marked impact on councils' ability to recycle", said Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the LGA.

The Chancellor has already signalled that he plans to outline a series of new charges, tariffs and taxes on companies that produce throwaway packaging in his Budget at the end of this month.

In Britain, recycling companies earn financial credits through the producer responsibility system of Packaging Recovery Notes.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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