Bucks Council to debate reducing recycling waste being sent overseas

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Buckinghamshire Council will debate a motion to reduce the amount of recycling waste sent overseas after a BBC investigation.

A proposal committing the authority to try and identify more domestic waste processing facilities has been added to the agenda of next week’s full council meeting on July 17.

Buckinghamshire or UK sites could replace overseas destinations, to which some waste from the county is currently sent.

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If the motion passes, the cabinet would be asked to ‘identify the potential for recycled waste from Buckinghamshire to be recycled solely within the UK’ and ‘ideally within 12 months’.

Waste at a recycling plant, photo from Adobe StockWaste at a recycling plant, photo from Adobe Stock
Waste at a recycling plant, photo from Adobe Stock

The motion, was put forward by councillors Ed Gemmell and Greg Smith, comes after it was revealed that the council sent 9,000 tonnes of recycling waste abroad in 2023.

Plastic, paper, card, metal and other materials were shipped to countries including the Netherlands, France, Spain, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Turkey and Germany, according to figures obtained under freedom of information laws by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Gemmell, who leads the UK’s Climate Party, said he was ‘delighted’ that his motion to keep the council recycling in the UK and preferably the county was accepted to be debated.

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He added: “We need to make sure we are not sending our paper and card halfway around the World to be recycled.”

The independent councillor claimed that recycling waste locally would save on carbon emissions, help drive the local economy and create jobs and urged people to ask their local councillors to vote for the motion.