Socialist Worker

Biffa’s dirty secret

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2766

Next stop Indonesia!

Next stop Indonesia! (Pic: easylocum 2.0/Flickr)


Britain’s largest waste company, Biffa, has been fined over £1 million for dumping tonnes of rubbish in India and Indonesia.

The company has been charged with breaking international law by sending the rubbish.

To try and get around the ban Biffa would label rubbish as “paper” at its depot in north London.

But in reality, the waste included soiled nappies, food packaging, and plastics.

Investigators from the Environment Agency prevented 16 containers filled with rubbish from being sent overseas between 2018 and 2019.

But the agency admitted that at least 26 containers were able to leave the Southampton port.

Recycled

Biffa’s abuses point to a wider problem. Both India and Indonesia have largely welcomed paper imports, which are ground down and recycled in paper mills.

Criminal dumping of raw sewage in sea for profit
Criminal dumping of raw sewage in sea for profit
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But firms are abusing this and in Biffa’s case falsely labelling its containers.

According to a report by India’s National Green Tribunal at least 100,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic are being exported.

This waste finds its way to landfill sites where it sits for decades.

This is also damaging for those who live around landfills and rubbish incinerators.

The burning of paper bails—which contain plastics that weren’t disclosed by the senders—pumps out toxins into the air.

The uncovering of Biffa’s dirty secret shows that bosses in the West are still content with shipping our waste off to developing countries, no matter the cost to the planet or to people’s health.


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