EA addresses the illegal export of plastic construction waste


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Members of EA’s Illegal Waste Export (IWE) team have identified an emerging problem related to the illegal export of highly contaminated plastic films and packaging from the construction and demolition (C&D) sector. Intelligence-led targeting has stopped officers from an increasing number of shipments of contaminated C&D plastic waste and plastic packaging. These items are increasingly being exported from England under ‘low risk’ Green List waste controls. However, the level of contamination observed by EA means that those who export such waste actually need prior approval from both EA and overseas regulators. The Energy Agency stressed that when they do not get approval, the export is illegal. Officers have intercepted and stopped several shipments of contaminated, poor-grade C&D plastic film from leaving England over the past year. Hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic waste are exported from the UK every year. EA stressed that there is nothing wrong with clean, non-polluting C&D plastic packaging and packaging being exported under “low-risk” Green List waste controls. “However, this year alone, my colleagues and I have seen a significant increase in shipments of this contaminated waste and therefore requires pre-export approval,” a port official said in an EA blog post. “The plastic is often dirty and contaminated with materials such as clay, sand, rubble and bricks, which means the waste will require further processing after export.” Plastic waste, including casings and films, exported under Green List waste controls must be: virtually free from pollution and other types of waste; Dedicated to recycling in an environmentally sound manner. “If these and other waste controls are not adhered to, exporters risk having their shipments stopped at ports by me and my IWE teammates,” the officer added. “This is not only a potential cost issue for participants, but we will also target any certified packaging exporters that issue PERNs. [packaging export recovery notes] against such waste violating their accreditation terms.” The official added: “We all have a responsibility to ensure that our waste is recycled appropriately to ensure human health and the environment are protected now and for future generations. We already address the threats and risks posed by illegal waste exports and will not hesitate to use the enforcement tools at our disposal. “We also recognize the importance of maintaining ‘a level playing field’ so that those who invest large sums of money in their business are not unfairly undermined by those who do not properly handle waste. However, we can only achieve so much on our own and we want to emphasize how much The importance of information provided by the public and those in the industry in addressing this issue.” If you have information on people suspected of illegally exporting waste, including contaminated C&D plastics, we encourage you to be part of the solution by providing us with any Information you have to help us address the problem and thus help protect human health and the environment overseas.” Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste, including C&D waste, can contact EA’s Illegal Waste Export Team at [email protected] -agency.gov.uk or anonymously via Crimestoppers at 0800555111 or via the website https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give information.Do you have a story?Email [email protected]


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