UK to Stop Exporting Plastic Waste to Developing Countries

UK to Stop Exporting Plastic Waste to Developing Countries

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Following the Queen’s inspirational speech on modern environmental laws last fall, the government just passed a totally new and visionary legislation that has the power to transform Britain into a circular economy. Breaking news! UK to stop exporting plastic waste to poorer countries.

“For the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law.” – Queen Elisabeth II




As always, it was an absolute pleasure to listen to the Queen of England! Her speech gave birth to a sustainable, eco-friendly and modernly economical legislation. One which should be applauded, and copied, by many other countries all over the world! It yields the power to turn the UK into a world-leading recycling nation. In a country that has experienced tremendous uncertainty and division, such hopeful and positive future outlooks are more than welcome!

It’s always a pleasure to listen to the Queen of England

For such an ancient monarch especially, talking about modern laws and environmental sustainability demands a certain amount of respect. It simply shows that the Queen, the government and the people of Great Britain can very well embrace change! The passed bill is of a long-term nature and covers a variety of environmental and waste-related areas. Among them are:

  • The improvement of air and water quality
  • The tackling of plastic pollution (domestically and globally)
  • Plant and wildlife habitat restoration

Additionally, the bill will take into consideration other countries’ and regions’ environmental laws and developments, in order to adapt the newest and most efficient changes into the UK’s own environmental policies. It’s a brilliant copy&paste strategy for the environment!

UK to stop exporting plastic
Western countries export enormous amounts of plastic waste
Image by Bas Emmen on Unsplash
Exporting waste to developing countries

For decades, developed nations have been exporting waste to poorer parts of the world. Of course, the main result of this trade system has equaled vast global plastic pollution, whilst artificially boosting the exporting countries’ own recycling systems. Poorer countries are generally not equipped well enough to handle the waste accordingly. On the other hand, the economic revenue coming from the waste trade was much needed in these countries. The global transportation of predominantly plastics also led to an increase in waste pollution during the transport itself.

Related article: Costa Rica to Ban all Styrofoam Import and Production by 2021

All in all, it was a good short-term economic deal and a disastrous long-term environmental one. On the bight side, global awareness is growing immensely and the passed bill in Britain is only one of many recently implemented political and economic changes for the better.




Top plastic importing countries

The following countries have long been importing the most plastic waste from developed nations:

  1. China (48%)
  2. Hong Kong (19%)
  3. Malaysia (2%)
  4. Taiwan (1%)
  5. Indonesia (1%)

Evidently, China and Hong Kong definitely stick out here and have been the world’s dumping ground for plastics for a very long time. Recently though, China has stopped it’s plastic waste import. Hence, the country’s import has decreased by 99% since 2018. Countries such as the UK have realized this and took action!

Related article: The Next Ocean Plastic Frontier – 4ocean’s Incredible Project Guatemala

Towards more recycling and the circular economy
UK to Stop Exporting Plastic Waste to Developing Countries 1
The circular economic model
Image by nordic-ecolabel.org

With the dawn of this new environmental legislation, the UK is not only to stop exporting plastic waste to developing countries, but also to start becoming a circular economy! This is the country’s admirable long-term goal. Smaller developed nations, such as Sweden, have already managed to basically turn themselves into such circular economies. Here, most of the waste is either reused or recycled.

Clearly, such as the UK, can make a much bigger impact on the global environmental scale and if the country manages to implement these new legislation and visions, the future does look much brighter, and cleaner indeed!

Feature image by Antoine GIRET on Unsplash

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