According to the investigators, the problem lies with the plastic recycling exporting system, which has been criticised in the past to being open to fraud, which has now been found to be true. The plastic exporting industry is making millions when it charges UK retailers and manufacturers for plastic waste recovery notes or Perns, which are currently valued at £60 per tonne of plastic waste.
This figure fluctuates and manufacturers and retailers are obliged to purchase Perns to prove to the UK government that they are meeting guidelines on plastic packaging recycling. The problem is that the Perns system is vulnerable to fraud and relies on the plastic exporting businesses honestly declaring how much plastic packaging waste they are actually exporting out of the country.
The EA have discovered massive discrepancies from the number of actual plastic exports that HM customs have recorded and the total number of shipments, which some plastic exporters have claimed were actually shipped out. The latest figure for this discrepancy is 35,135 tonnes more plastic than HM customs have on their books, in order to game the Pern price.
Criminals are exploiting the plastic packaging waste export system for financial gains and the worst part is that once the rubbish finally reaches its destination in the Far East, it is being sent to sites which haven’t been approved by the EA for recycling and is instead being left to pollute the environment, flowing into rivers and ending up in the ocean.
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