Malaysia is returning thousands of tons of non-recyclable waste to the U.S., UK, and other countries that sent it.
“Whoever that send their waste to Malaysia, whether it’s E-waste, whether it’s plastic waste, or whatever waste, we will send it back. And we will fight back,” MESTECC Minister Yeo Bee Yin stated. “Even though we are a small country, we cannot be bullied by developed countries.
Malaysian officials say 3,300 tons of plastic waste arrived from countries like the U.S., Japan, France, and Canada. The waste was on its way to illegal Malaysian recycling centers where non-recyclable waste is burned or sent to landfills.
According to Yeo, 60 containers of contaminated waste will be sent back to countries of origin. 10 of the containers will be shipped out as soon as June 2019.
Malaysia has recently become a main global destination for plastic waste after China banned plastic waste imports in 2018. Since 1992, China has imported a cumulative 45% of the world’s waste.
In May 2019, Malaysia reportedly sent five containers of waste back to Spain. It is also cracking down on the illegal recycling factories in the country. 150 unlicensed factories have reportedly been closed down since July 2018.