Capacity for recycling refuse

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I reiterate my comment in my previous letter that I am fully in agreement with recycling of refuse.

Unfortunately, this country does not have the facilities to handle all possible refuse in this manner.

Firstly, it appears that much of the plastic waste exported from this country is of poor quality, contains plastic items which cannot be recycled, and is contaminated with other material.

Secondly, China stopped taking plastic and mixed paper from the beginning of the year. We have increased our export of material to Poland, Indonesia and Vietnam and maintained exports to Malaysia, India and Turkey. One can guess at the working conditions in most of these countries. In addition, we have no control as to the final methods of disposal of waste found to be unsuitable for recycling.

An increasing amount of material is being left in this country, so much so that the government believes that facilities to handle our waste must be increased to minimise or eliminate export.

This will mean an increase in the need to improve the labour- intensive activity of correctly sorting plastic waste, an increase in the recycling operations and an increase in the incineration facilities to burn, not only plastics, but paper and card.

In addition, the incinerators will handle the 30 per cent of domestic rubbish which cannot be recycled.

P R Perkins