KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The Milton Keynes Council in the UK has ordered an audit into its recycling programme after trash it was supposed to manage was found in landfills thousands of kilometres away from home in Perak, the BBC reported today.
The British local council insisted that it does not export waste to Malaysia, but acknowledged that its waste had been sent abroad and promised to find alternatives “fast” after 50 trash bags from its recycling programme were found here.
“We only work with reputable suppliers who have a clear picture of where recyclable material goes, right throughout the supply chain, and our suppliers have reconfirmed to us that our recyclable materials are dealt with properly.
“We do not export waste to Malaysia, and we're appalled to see this misuse of our recycling sacks. The way much UK plastic waste is treated is shocking and alternatives must be found fast,” an unnamed spokesman for Milton Keynes was quoted telling the state-owned British broadcasting company.
Malaysia is not the only country where UK garbage has been brought in. The BBC also reported Milton Keynes Council leader Pete Marland clarifying that the council has also traded its waste to Taiwan for recycling.
The BBC started airing a three-part documentary series starring famous British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall last night amid a global war against single-use plastics.
In the BBC investigative programme, Fearnley-Whittingstall called on British consumers to reduce their usage of plastics after personally witnessing how their waste were shipped abroad not for recycling as presumed but thrown into landfills and burnt.
“I went to Malaysia at the end of last year to see this problem for myself, and it's absolutely horrible. I found myself walking across grim landscapes of trashed plastics, stacked up in bales and piles as far as the eye could see.
“Shockingly, but somehow inevitably, there was no shortage of plastic from the UK,” the celebrity chef and environmental campaigner of River Cottage fame said in the BBC report.
Malaysia made international headlines last month after it shipped off 450 metric tonnes or 10 containers full of contaminated plastic waste imported illegally from countries such as the UK, US, and China.