Poland to send back 1,000 tonnes of illegal waste to UK

The Environment Agency (EA) is in talks with Polish authorities about taking back around 1,000 tonnes of waste that had been illegally shipped from the UK. 45 containers that contained plastic recycling were intercepted and found to be full of boxes, tins, detergent packaging and engine oil. The containers were marked as plastic recycling and destined for Polish waste facilities. However, when they were intercepted by officials at a port in Gdynia they were found to contain tins, detergent packaging, boxes and engine oil.

A criminal investigation has been launched into three firms after the illegal waste marked as plastic recycling was intercepted at the Polish port of Gdynia. Waste and recycling trade body the Environmental Services Association (ESA) warned firms and councils to watch out for waste crime.

Waste Crime

Two years ago, EA chief Sir James Bevan warned that waste crime was becoming “the new narcotics” and cost the country £1bn a year. “If it’s correct as alleged in the press about the involvement of organised criminals then that is very serious indeed and local authorities and businesses need to be vigilant and make sure they understand their duty of care requirements,” recycling policy adviser for The Environmental Services Association – Jakob Rindegren – told Unearthed.

A Government watchdog warned earlier this month that millions of tons of waste intended for recycling may instead end up in landfill sites across the globe. Much of the UK’s plastic earmarked for recycling is sent overseas on the understanding that it will be turned into new products and reused but there have long been concerns it is simply dumped in countries such as Turkey and Malaysia.


More and more countries are saying ‘no, thank you’ to Britain’s plastic waste. This should be a wakeup call that out of sight, out of mind is not a viable solution to deal with the overproduction of throwaway plastic and exporting plastic pollutions is simply not a solution.

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