• Plastic waste: having to be rethought
    Plastic waste: having to be rethought

Indonesian authorities are preparing to return at least nine containers of what it says is toxic waste sent from Australia for recycling, which was marked as non-toxic “non-B3” mixed plastic scrap.

The authorities say that the “non-toxic” container in Batam stinks, contains sludge, and has visible maggots crawling around. According to Fairfax it is from Visy Recycled. The Surabaya containers were marked as paper, but are also claimed to have B3, toxic, waste in them. One contains a local Victorian authority Melton Council plastic recycling bin.

Photos of one of the containers showed post-consumer plastic waste from a variety of Australian food and household products, as well as dozens of used car engine oil containers.

The containers are among 65 contaminated waste shipping containers impounded by officials in Batam and in Surabaya. Industry insiders say that what was previously acceptable to the Indonesians is no longer so.

The containers are being prepared to be shipped back to Australia. At the same time Malaysian authorities have also indicated they will be returning several containers of waste to Australia.

Plastic waste has become the number one issue in recycling, with Australia's long-term strategy of sending most of it overseas to under developed Asian nations having to be rethought, as first China then a host of Asian nations are closing the door on Australian garbage.

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