Brake - Ban on Plastic Waste Exports Long Overdue

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake is spear-heading a cross-party initiative to secure an export ban on plastic waste.


Pictured: Tom with Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega, Co-Founder of the Indonesian NGO BaliFokus.

In a letter to Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Tom and 17 other MPs are demanding a complete ban on plastic waste exports.

Tom was prompted to act after discovering that two-thirds of plastic waste separated for recycling in the UK is sent abroad for processing. The countries receiving plastics are often ill-equipped to handle it safely and it can end up dumped in landfill.

Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake said:

"We must take care of own waste, rather than dumping our rubbish on poorer countries.

"Currently, large quantities of plastic, designated for recycling, are being thrown in the Global South’s landfill, simultaneously harming the environment and turning our recycling into rubbish.

"I urge Michael Gove to support a complete ban on plastic waste exports and develop a plan to make this reality.

"It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure our plastic waste is properly handled, rather than financially rewarding waste companies for destroying the environment."

Two-thirds of plastic waste separated for recycling in the UK is sent abroad for processing, with 105,000 tonnes of UK plastic imported by Malaysia alone in 2017-18. The National Audit Office warned that millions of tonnes of plastic sent abroad for recycling may be being discarded in landfill.

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