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Malaysia bans plastic waste imports

Malaysia has banned the import of plastic waste, it has been reported.

The country’s newspapers said housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has permanently stopped the issue of import permits for plastic waste.

’Clean’ plastic waste can still be accepted but will be phased out over three years, according to reports. There is no indication yet what contamination levels will be considered as ‘clean’.

Kamaruddin said she had taken the step because of health and environmental problems and to encourage Malaysia’s plastics industry to stop relying on imports.

A Greenpeace investigation this month established that waste packaging from the UK and other western countries has ended up in illegal dumps in Malaysia as it can no longer be sent to China because of the latter’s import ban on most recyclables.

Thailand has said it will ban waste plastic imports by 2021.

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