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West Sussex officer looks to set sail with plastics to China

One of the country's most dedicated waste management officers has taken a step further than normal to ensure his council gets ahead of the rest.

Philip Russell, who is head of wastes management at West Sussex County, went on a fact-finding mission to China during his own annual leave and at no cost to the County Council

During his trip, he visited two plastics factories and two major paper mills in the country and wants to create trade materials for recycling between West Sussex and China to sate the demand in the world's most populous country.

He said: "There is a lot of pressure on all local authorities to meet recycling targets, and this could mean that the UK market for paper and plastics in particular reaches capacity.

"China is anxious to import more material for recycling, and my visit was a good chance to see what is taking place on the ground."

Russell added that there is a flourishing market in China for plastics, which are crushed before being spun into fibre and sent back as items of clothing including fleeces.

The trip also gave him an opportunity to check that child labour was not being used in any of the processing plants and mills as well as look at environmental considerations.

He said: "I was told that for every six containers of materials being imported into this country from China, only one returns full. This means shipping costs are comparatively cheap.

"In terms of transporting waste, it would also mean fewer long distance road journeys because we are close to Southampton docks."

West Sussex County Council now intends to investigate ways to develop relationships with Chinese organisations.

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