More nations pile on . . .
Malaysia plans to return more than 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste to its original exporters, including Canada. The move comes after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte lambasted Canada for failing to repatriate 2,500 tonnes of garbage currently rotting in Manila. Since China, the largest importer of plastics, decided to stop importing waste last year, some Southeast Asian countries have been on the receiving end of developed countries’ waste. Now, several of them are pushing back.
Slow-footed diplomatic response . . .
Canada agreed to repatriate its waste from the Philippines only after failing to meet Duterte’s May 15 deadline. Ottawa's current plan is to return these containers by the end of June. Canada only recycles nine per cent of its consumed plastics, and the majority of recycling is handled by the private sector. With the exception of B.C. (the only Canadian province that fully recycles its used plastics), provincial governments are only responsible for sorting their garbage before selling it to recycling companies or brokers, who in turn ship the waste to facilities around the world. Because the price of waste is highly dependent on market worth, waste with lower value often sits idle in containers, as has been the case in the Philippines and Malaysia.
'Brand Canada' rounding the bin . . .
Metro Vancouver has the infrastructure and facilities to properly burn plastic waste and turn it into energy for the province. The region could not only help Canada provide a short-term solution to the ongoing scandals in Malaysia and the Philippines, but it could also set an example for Canada in the longer term for dealing with a diplomatic problem that is currently trashing Canada’s global image.
- CBC News: How our waste winds up in places like Malaysia and the Philippines
- Financial Times: Malaysia to return 3,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste (paywall)
- New York Times: Canada agrees to take back trash sent to Philippines years ago