UK plastic recycling industry accused of fraud and corruption
The UK plastics recycling industry is under investigation for fraud and corruption, with the Environment Agency accusing companies of abusing the exports system and of leaving waste to leak into rivers and oceans.
Half a dozen UK plastic waste exporters have had their license suspended or cancelled in the last three months. Countries including China, Malaysia and Vietnam have also banned imports from the UK.
The Environment Agency is investigating groups that might be taking advantage of the export system, The Guardian.
The allegations from the EA include: declaring tonnes of waste that might not exist, leaving waste to leak into rivers and oceans and illegal shipments of plastic routed to the Far West via the Netherlands.
According to the EA there are differences between the packaging exports recorded by HM customs and the amount UK exporters claim to have shipped. The Guardian said British export firms claim to have shipped abroad 35,135 tonnes more plastic than HM Customs has recorded leaving the country.
One source said told the newspaper that customs figures on waste plastic suggest organisations are shipping other items than waste plastic in order to get the Pern (Packaging Export Recovery Note) price, which has been as much as £60-70 a tonne.