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Landfills may be accepting recycled material in wake of China ban

2000 landfill vehicle

Concerns have been raised that low-quality plastic and paper could be going to landfill following China’s import ban.

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Mary Creagh said she had heard “anecdotally” that landfills were being reopened for recycled materials.

She made the comments at last week’s Recycling Association conference, although they have been refuted by industry.

She said: “It looks to me that there is a gap in stuff going abroad; Europe and the rest of the world are not going to be able to take ours.

“And anecdotally I am hearing from large waste collectors that they are reopening landfills to put in, particularly the plastics but also some of the paper, that they have collected on a recycling basis. So this is definitely happening.”

Her office has not responded to requests to add further to this claim.

Stuart Hayward-Higham, technical development director at Suez, said: “I am not aware of any large waste company doing this. Logistically the economics seem to work against it because landfill is so expensive.”

He added that the materials would already have gone through a MRF, adding further costs.

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