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Industry remains optimistic at the end of the decade

Corin Williams

Yet more waste sent by the UK to the far east is set to be returned, in what the outgoing chief executive of the Resource Association Ray Georgeson called a tide of “rubbish masquerading as recycling”.

This time, 42 containers of illegally shipped plastic waste will come back to the UK from Malaysia. The reason for these and other returned shipments from Indonesia may become clear soon. MRW received two allegations of serious PRN fraud by whistleblowers in recent months, both involving companies based in the UK falsely claiming for PRNs on shipments of contaminated waste.

This year the UK was shocked to discover UK waste being dumped openly in Malaysia. No-one knows how this has happened, I suspect in 2020 the truth will be revealed.

Meanwhile another disturbing trend is shown by the collapse of EfW contractor Clugston, after Interserve also failed this year. This will make some waste firms very jumpy indeed, as they could be left exposed on projects and join a queue of creditors demanding their money back.

The end of December marks the end of a decade – a fact that barely registers as the country continues to be wrapped up in a seemingly endless Brexit debate.

Whatever happens following the general election, one thing seems clear: the industry is making many of the same points about lack of infrastructure and the need to crack down on waste crime now as it was 10 years ago.

But our sector seems to be resolutely upbeat, now that the general election is over and we have certainty the Government will carry on with the resources and waste strategy. 

Wales, already far ahead of England, is set to pull even further away with the launch of a new and ambitious strategy. 2020 must be the year for action and delivery for Defra.

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