Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Australia’s 60 Minutes current affairs programme has claimed that people who think plastic waste is recycled are being deceived – the plastic is being burned, buried or dumped.
60 Minutes: Australia’s recycling industry now ‘mostly a con’ after China closes doors to plastic waste
By Sammi Taylor • 60 Minutes Digital Producer Apr 14, 2019
Most Australians think they’re doing the right thing when they take their recycling bins to the curb every fortnight.
But our belief that we’re doing our part for the environment is somewhat misguided: Australia’s plastic recycling industry is largely a con.
“When you throw this stuff in your recycle bin at home you might like to think again,” Bartlett says.
Australia alone has dumped more than 71,000 tonnes of plastic in Malaysia in the past 12 months.
But there, the mountains of plastic waste can often end up in illegal processing facilities and junkyards.
It’s a big problem – and many players within the recycling industry are calling it for what it is: a load of rubbish.
…Read more: https://www.9news.com.au/national/60-minutes-recycling-plastic-waste-australia-china-malaysia/9cb9fb9f-09ab-4c34-8be0-dcc7d996bcab
Gee, what a surprise. It has been obvious for a long time that plastic waste is just waste.
One question – what does a high population density country like Malaysia do with all those mountains of plastic they are
It seems unlikely Malaysia can burn all the plastic – in a densely populated country like Malaysia areas suitable for large scale toxic burnoffs are likely in short supply. And there is nowhere available to bury that amount of plastic. But Malaysia has excellent ports and maritime facilities, and good access to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Perhaps they ship the plastic somewhere.
Update (EW): On review it is not clear whether Malasian waste processors pay for low grade plastic waste, or whether they are paid to get rid of it.