Campaigners have dumped 625 kilograms of plastic on the prime minister’s doorstep in a stunt to stop the UK exporting its plastic waste to be burned or sit in landfill in other countries.
The plastic left at the Downing Street gates on Tuesday is equivalent to the amount the UK exports every 30 seconds, Greenpeace said, nearly 40 per cent of which goes to Turkey. Every day the UK sends the equivalent of three and a half Olympic swimming pools in plastic abroad.
“Our carefully washed and sorted plastic is sent overseas, the majority to countries with very low recycling rates, where it is being dumped and burned,” said Nina Schrank, senior plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK.
“It is illegal for the UK government to export our waste if it isn’t being recycled or incinerated. This is causing an environmental crisis and a health crisis for local people. It has to stop,” she added.
“We hope this pile of plastic helps the government to not only visualise the huge volume of plastic waste we export, but also to understand what it feels like to have waste dumped on your doorstep.”
A recent Greenpeace investigation showed plastic supermarket packaging from the UK dumped and partly burned in the open air in Turkey, three thousand kilometres from where the products were bought.