Numerous Southeast Asian countries, sick of being the wealthy world’s rubbish dump, have in recent weeks turned container-loads of waste again from foreign shores.
It came after China last year stopped accepting the world’s used plastic, has been the biggest market for recyclables.
On January 1, 2018, China closed its doors to nearly all foreign plastic waste, as well as many other recyclables, in a push to protect its environment and air quality.
For many years China had obtained the bulk of scrap plastic from around the world, processing a lot of it into a higher quality material that could be used by producers.
In late May Malaysia said 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste could be shipped again to the place it came from—Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.
The country, however, does enable the import of homogenous and clean waste plastics for the recycling industry.
In late June the Philippines returned Canada tonnes of rubbish held in 69 containers that had been in the Asian country for six years.
It put an end to a row dating again to 2013 and 2014 when a Canadian company shipped containers mislabelled as recyclable plastics to the Philippines.
In July Cambodia stated it might send again to the United States and Canada 1,600 tonnes of illegal plastic waste found in shipping containers.
Sri Lankan customs ordered the return to Britain of 111 containers deserted in Colombo port for nearly two years and located to be holding hazardous mortuary and clinical waste, presumably including human organs.
Indonesia returned seven containers of illegally imported waste to France and Hong Kong from its Batam island port. They have been loaded with a mix of garbage, plastic debris, and hazardous materials.
Authorities have been still ready for clearance to return another 42 containers of waste on the port to the United States, Australia, and Germany.