Twitter | @yeobeeyin

Malaysia Sends 150 Containers Of Illegal Plastic Waste Back To Home Countries

By now, most of us have got the message that the overabundance of plastic in our world is seriously harming it and its wildlife. However, while some are finding creative alternatives to plastic and uses for what plastic already exists, there is still much more of it lying around than we know what to do with.

And although we've been encouraged to recycle for years, The Atlantic reported that a real crisis with existing recycling programs throughout the most industrialized nations of the world is underway.

Namely, that there is more plastic and mixed paper waste out there than anyone can actually use, meaning there's not much of a market for these materials to be recycled.

And as we're about to see, this issue has far-reaching implications across the world.

For decades, the answer nations had for recycled materials they couldn't use domestically was to ship them to China.

Reddit | Brinner

As The Atlantic reported, tons of U.S. recycling would later be made into shoes, bags, and other plastic products.

Load Comments

By 2017, however, that go-to solution was no longer going to work.

Reddit | on_another_planet

That's because China imposed restrictions on the recyclables it could import, with specific attention to plastics and mixed papers.

For the countries that once shipped them there, this meant a frantic search for another solution.

Load Comments

For some shipping companies and exporters, the answer was apparently to send their plastic to Malaysia.

Facebook | Yeo Bee Yin(杨美盈)

While these plastics were able to make the trip, however, they wouldn't be able to stay in Malaysia for long.

Because as the nation's Environment and Science Minister Yeo Bee Yin said on Facebook, the plastic wastes in question were brought to Malaysia illegally.

Load Comments

And so, her ministry and Malaysia's Department of Environment got to work to ensure that each massive container of the stuff was sent back where it came from.

Twitter | @yeobeeyin

In what she described as "an unprecedented move," these organizations managed to return 150 containers filled with the combined equivalent of 4,119 US tons of plastics to their home countries.

Load Comments

She also tweeted out a table showing the number of containers that each country involved sent over.

Twitter | @yeobeeyin

As she showed, France and the United Kingdom were the worst offenders with 43 and 42 containers respectively.

In addition, the United States had sent 17, Canada had sent 11, and Spain had sent 10.

Rounding out the list were Hong Kong with nine containers, Japan with five, Singapore with four, China and Portugal with three each, and Sri Lanka, Lithuania and Bangladesh with one container apiece.

Load Comments

Yeo Bee Yin also assured Malaysians that the move to "repatriate" these goods came at no cost to the nation's government.

Facebook | Yeo Bee Yin(杨美盈)

Instead, she posted on Facebook that the exporters and shipping lines that sent them over in the first place would foot the bill.

As she wrote, "Malaysian government is serious about combating the import of illegal wastes as we do not want to be the garbage bin of the world."

h/t: Facebook | Yeo Bee Yin(杨美盈)

Load Comments
Next Article