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The Philippines doesn’t want to recycle your low-grade plastic scrap anymore. Neither does China. Vietnam’s not thrilled about taking it either.
Earlier this week, Malaysia became the latest country to join the burgeoning trend: Governments across Southeast Asia are refusing to be dumping grounds for scrap that claims to be recyclable — but largely isn’t. Malaysia will send some 3,000 metric tons of plastic scrap back to where it came from, places like the U.S., Canada, Spain, and Saudi Arabia.
“Malaysia will not be the dumping ground of the world,” environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said.
The Philippines made a similar decision last week. The country’s strongman president, Rodrigo Duterte, went so far as to threaten to sever diplomatic ties and dump plastic in Canadian waters if Canada refused to take back 69 shipping containers of plastic scrap that had been sent to the Philippines illegally between 2013 and 2014.