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Recycling industry responds to BBC show

The recycling industry has reacted with horror to reports on a BBC documentary of household waste being transported 7,000 miles to be landfilled in the third world.

Real Story told of how 1,500 tonnes of separated domestic waste was intercepted in Rotterdam, Holland en route to Hong Kong while another shipment of 500 tonnes had made it all the way to Jakarta, Indonesia.

Green Party members of the London Assembly will be asking the London Mayor to take action over the allegations that Grosvenor Waste Management sent the rubbish to be landfilled in Indonesia.

Green Party member of the London Assembly Darren Johnson said: “It is completely unacceptable to export household recycling halfway around the world. This scandal highlights the urgent need to get waste recycling plants up and running in London which would create jobs and help the environment.”

A Grosvenor Waste Management spokesman said: “This poorly researched ‘trial by media’ programme contained nothing more than a series of unsubstantiated, unfair and sensationalist assumptions and claims. No prosecution has been brought against the company by the regulatory authority, the EA, and to be singled out in this way for such unfair treatment by the BBC is incomprehensible.”

Reporter Morland Sanders returned sorted waste such as letters, envelopes and Christmas cards to stunned householders in Islington where the waste originated.

While these residents uttered dismay, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has moved to reassure the public that sorting rubbish is worthwhile.

WRAP chief executive Jennie Price said: “Recycling is one simple way in which we can all make a difference, and more and more people are doing it regularly. Local councils and the Environment Agency (EA) need to play their part by making sure that what is put out for recycling genuinely gets recycled. In this way, we can all use the growing number of recycling services available to us with confidence.”

The EA has announced ongoing investigations into illegal exports, with Indonesian authorities classing the shipment as hazardous waste, stating the country had no capacity to recycle it.

Grosvenor stated that the containers of recyclable mixed papers filmed in Jakarta actually originated from a German recycling company and could have contained papers from throughout Europe. They claim to have evidence to support the fact that it was recycled.

The spokesman added: “We made our concerns very clear to the BBC in advance of last night, about the potential for the programme to damage UK recycling achievements and investment, along with our strong concern as to its fairness and accuracy, and we will now be contacting the media regulator, Ofcom.

“Grosvenor is now considering what legal action to take against the BBC for this singular, unsubstantiated attack on the company.”

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