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Time for a ‘radical overhaul’ of UK recycling sector

A group of business leaders in the UK has called on the Government to stop ‘passing the buck to some of the world’s most disadvantaged people’ by exporting its plastic waste.

The group, which includes Sky ceo Jeremy Darroch, Iceland Foods Group managing director Richard Walker and the TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle, wrote an open letter to the Daily Telegraph newspaper urging ministers to end the UK’s ‘plastic shame’ by ‘taking responsibility for our waste on British soil’.

The letter states that two-thirds of the country’s plastic packaging waste is exported to countries which are ill-equipped to process it. The authors demand a radical overhaul of the UK’s waste management infrastructure because ‘huge quantities’ of plastic earmarked for recycling at home are being sent abroad for processing.

It says: ‘With around 90% of the plastic waste that enters the marine environment every year via rivers attributed to 10 in Africa and Asia, we are often quick to blame the developing world for the crisis. ‘Yet by pumping waste to countries ill-equipped to deal with the barrage of plastic Britain is guilty of passing the buck to some of the world’s most disadvantaged people. Ending the UK’s plastic shame means taking responsibility for our waste on British soil. This means turning off the plastic tap at source and radically overhauling our broken waste management system.’

Later this month, the UK Government has said it will publish a resources and waste strategy which is expected to address plastic recycling and the preponderance of single-use plastics.

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