Fifth of councils see recycling cost rise after China ban

Christopher Davidson
October 20, 2018

The mountain, which is so big that it can be seen from a satellite, has led to complaints from locals in North Killingholme that it is attracting vermin and lowering house prices. The allegations include claims that exporters are falsely claiming for tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste that might not exist and that United Kingdom plastic waste is not being recycled and is being left to leak into rivers and oceans.

Plastic recycling waste has been building up in the United Kingdom since China introduced importing restrictions previous year, with the situation now so bad that councils have started cutting plastic recycling services.

Just this week, it emerged Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Southampton City Council were closing a number of mixed plastic recycling banks under plans to burn it rather than recycle.

The Southern Daily Echo reported that the company behind the banks is having difficulty disposing of the plastic.

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.

Councils are being hit hard by the rising cost of recycling, with some saying they paid around £500,000 more over the past year.

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At least 20% of councils have felt a direct impact from China's decision, according to a snapshot poll for the Local Government Association, and there are fears this could mean more charges for council taxpayers.

"Our ambition is to handle more of our waste in the UK".

The Advertiser understands that other national media outlets, newspapers and broadcast media, were inundating communications staff at Euclid Street picking up on the Telegraph story. For example, Malaysia has imposed a three-month ban on importing scrap plastic and Vietnam is looking at banning imports.

Following the China ban in January, global markets for United Kingdom plastic waste are also restricting imports: Malaysia and Vietnam have imposed temporary bans and Poland is considering restrictions after fires at illegal waste dumps.

"It's essential that the government provide support to help councils offset the loss of income they face as a result of the ban and encourage manufacturers to use more recyclable materials". "Councils want manufacturers to play their part to reduce the amount of material entering the environment which can't be recycled".

The council's cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment Hayley Eachus said: "There has been a drop in the market for recycling mixed plastics making it unviable for the company providing mixed plastic bring banks in the borough to sell on the material for recycling".

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