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Where exactly is our ‘recycled’ plastic ending up?

  • by JW

How much of our ‘recycled’ rubbish ends up as rubbish on the other side of the world?


There are Freedom of Information requests asking these questions:

District Council and plastic pollution >>> Sending plastic to the correct reprocessor: a follow-up FOI request >>> “Information not held”

County Council and plastic pollution >>> “the Council will use its position and responsibility to raise awareness of the issues surrounding single-use plastics” >>> BUT the Council “does not hold information” on how its reprocessors deal with its plastic waste 

Plastic waste > County Council’s workshop ‘Making plastic pollution a thing of the past’ > but “the fact that plastic recycling is dubious and not the answer… got very heated”


The Futures Forum has reported on this:

Why the world’s recycling system stopped working


Our recycling system really is not working:

We should be following the “proximity principle” and dealing with our own recycling waste at home
UK plastic pollution ending up in Poland, rather than China
Waste crime is the “new narcotics” >>> UK plastic pollution ending up in Poland once again – and being sent back
The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system
“The golden shores of Bali are being lost under a mountain of garbage”


BBC Radio 4 looks at the latest:


A Load of Rubbish

Households in Britain are recycling more than ever, with millions of us dutifully sorting through our rubbish every week in an effort to help save the planet. But when the blue, green and brown bins are taken away, what really happens to our waste?

File on 4 goes digging through Britain’s multi-million pound recycling industry – and discovers it’s a dirty business.

The UK sends more than half its recyclable packaging overseas, selling our sorted plastics and paper to countries which need the raw material and will recycle it. But when File on 4 tracks where shipments are being sent – we discover they can have a devastating effect on the developing communities where they end up.

A Load of Rubbish