Some of the South West’s recycling collection is going to be sent abroad to be processed so they can help reduce the costs of landfills. As a result of the new programme, the majority of recycling will be sent to Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset will be sent out to other locations in the UK. Only a small percentage will be locally dealt with.
Approximately an additional 5% is sent abroad including footwear and textiles. These recycling materials are sent to countries located in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. In fact hundreds of tonnes are sent over to China because costs are much lower in the country.
The Somerset Waste Partnership stated that 95% of its recycling is taken care of within the UK with most of the steel sent to Wales and paper sent to Kent. However they still choose to send out 98 tonnes of plastic to Hong Kong because it was simply cheaper.
Spokesman for the Somerset Waste Partnership, David Mansell, explained that they now purchase most of their products from China and other foreign countries so it is not that much of a surprise that some of the products go back to foreign countries. South West councils are attempting to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills that later has to be paid for.
Steve Burdis, a member of the Dorset Waste Partnership, stated that it is not in the interest of any of the local authorities to place recycling material into landfills because there are high costs associated with doing so. Burdis went on to explain that you can get income from recycling whereas landfills simply get filled up costing as much as £100 per tonne. In Devon the recycling rate sits at 55% right now.