Business leaders call for an end to plastic export “scandal”
A number of the UK’s most high-profile business leaders have signed an open letter calling for the government to halt the exporting of plastic waste to developing countries.
In an open letter published in the Daily Telegraph, a group of prominent industry figures including Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch and Iceland Foods Group MD Richard Walker criticised the practice of sending plastic waste to developing countries for recycling. The group also alleged that two thirds of Britain’s waste is sent to countries that cannot process it correctly and cited a warning from the National Audit Office that millions of tons of plastic waste could end up in landfill overseas.
“Britain’s inadequate waste management infrastructure means that plastic earmarked for recycling here is sent abroad in huge quantities for processing. The hideous sight of plastic rubbish from Britain is becoming common across the developing world,” said the letter. “By pumping plastic waste to countries ill-equipped to deal with the barrage, Britain is guilty of passing the buck to some of the world’s most disadvantaged people.”
The action was organised by the international campaign group A Plastic Planet, which works with industries, media outlets and political organisations to encourage a change in attitudes and practices concerning the usage and disposal of plastic. Plastic waste has become a matter of great importance to the public in recent years thanks in part to the popularity of programs such as the BBC documentary series Blue Planet 2, to the extent that ‘single-use’ was recently named the 2018 word of the year by Collins Dictionary.
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