A small number of ‘unscrupulous or illegal operators’ give a ‘bad impression’ of the UK industry, Veolia said as it responds to a BBC News investigation that found plastic waste from Britain sent to Turkey for recycling was instead dumped and burned on the side of roads.
The UK sends more plastic waste to Turkey than to any other country, but critics say the country doesn’t have the capacity to recycle its own waste, let alone the tens of thousands of tonnes being sent from overseas.
The BBC’s investigation, published last month, found some waste being exported from the UK wasn’t being sorted properly, meaning it couldn’t be recycled.
Unfortunately there remains a small number of unscrupulous or illegal operators exporting mixed plastics that may not have been properly sorted and therefore not all be recyclable.
The BBC said some “smaller, backstreet” recycling facilities in Turkey were instead dumped and burning off waste.
A Veolia Spokesperson said: “Veolia uses UK outlets where they are available, such as our HDPE milk bottle reprocessing plant in East London, but where overseas processing is required Veolia only exports finished grades such as sorted PET Bottles & Trays and we follow a stringent duty of care audit to ensure it goes to genuine outlets that recycle it into new products.
“Unfortunately there remains a small number of unscrupulous or illegal operators exporting mixed plastics that may not have been properly sorted and therefore not all be recyclable. This gives a bad impression of the UK industry, which is trying its hardest to recycle more.
“Recycling has a vital role to play in the green economy that is needed to protect the future of our planet. Veolia is supporting the Government as it moves to tackle these issues through the new Resources and Waste Strategy.”