Council Statement – Recycling bag found near the Malaysia capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is as disappointed and concerned as residents are to learn that an empty recycling bag from this Authority was found within plastic waste from across the UK outside a town near the Malaysia capital of Kuala Lumpur. 

The Council first became aware of this matter following the investigations undertaken as part of a BBC documentary, which aims to highlight the ‘potentially inappropriate’ operating practices of accredited waste management companies. 

It is important to highlight that until being contacted by the production company responsible for this series that, to our knowledge, which was based upon the contractual arrangements we have in place, all our recyclable waste was being processed in the correct way. 

The Council has conducted a full investigation with the accredited company concerned to find out why a Rhondda Cynon Taf recycling bag was found in Malaysia.  

The company concerned maintain that the correct procedures have been followed in respect of managing the recyclable waste of this Council. The Council no longer utilises this company and can confirm that since 31st May 2018, the Council has not exported any waste materials outside of the EU. 

The Council can also confirm that 97% of our waste was processed in the UK. The remaining 3% was for specific reasons, such as papermill capacity in the UK, treated and processed outside the UK under EU and the Environment Agency licenses. 

In response to this discovery, the Council has also sought assurances and evidence from all its UK waste processing contractors, all of whom are licensed and regulated by the Environment Agency, to reaffirm that all Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s waste has been properly processed in the UK. All the companies have provided evidence that this is the case. 

The Council supports the action being taken by the Environment Agency to investigate and prosecute organisations that have not complied with their licences to recover and recycle plastics exported to countries such as Malaysia but are fraudulently sending the waste to landfill or illegally dumping it. 

We want to reassure residents that their positive recycling efforts are not in vain and that recyclable material is processed in a way which both residents and the Council would wish, to enable future use. 

As a Council, we believe the work of this programme highlights the need for the UK Government to provide stronger regulation of this industry in order to ensure that waste and recyclable materials are unable to be disposed of in this way internationally.

Posted on Tuesday 28th May 2019
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