Government response

The Daily Mail claims that waste meant for recycling is dumped in landfill abroad

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Daily Mail claims that millions of tonnes of household rubbish sorted for recycling is being shipped abroad and ends up in landfill.

The Myth – The Daily Mail claims that millions of tonnes of household rubbish sorted by British families for recycling is being shipped abroad and ends up in landfill.

The Truth – This is not true. The vast majority of the millions of tonnes of waste that is legally exported for recycling is dealt with properly and recycled into other products.

It is absolutely illegal to export household waste from the UK for dumping. Anyone caught illegally exporting materials that are not properly sorted will be prosecuted. Only sorted materials such as metals, paper, card, glass or plastic that can be reused again can legally be exported.

We are clamping down on people illegally exporting waste and giving enforcement agencies the necessary powers to combat illegal activity. Under international law, importing countries will also refuse entry to illegal shipments of waste.

Trade in materials for recycling is a global market. We would like to see our own recycling industry grow so that we can grasp this opportunity with both hands to benefit our own economy.

If anyone has any information about illegal waste exports, please contact the Environment Agency (0800 80 70 60) or anonymously via Crimestoppers (0800 555 111).