The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has rubbished claims made by the Daily Mail regarding the UK’s recycling volumes, reports.

The tabloid claimed on its front page earlier this months that millions of tonnes of UK household waste ends up being “dumped abroad” after being deemed unusable by British sorting plants. This waste material, it went on, then finds itself being exported to the likes of China, India and Indonesia where it becomes landfill.

Now, Defra has claimed that the article – originally published on April 6th under the headline, ‘The Great Recycling Con Trick’ – is patently untrue as such practices would actually be illegal. Whilst exporting recyclables is legal, it claimed, doing so with waste is not, so anyone caught doing so would be heavily prosecuted.

Therefore, Brits can be sure that any material they put into their recycling bins will end up being re-used and not sent to landfill.

Explaining, a Defra spokesperson told how the vast majority of waste that is legally exported for recycling is dealt with properly and recycled into other products.

“It is absolutely illegal to export household waste from the UK for dumping,” they continued. “Anyone caught illegally exporting materials that are not properly sorted will be prosecuted. Only sorted materials such as metals, paper, card, glass or plastic that can be reused again can be legally exported.

“Trade in materials for recycling is a global market. We would like to see our own recycling industry grow so that we can grasp this opportunity with both hands to benefit our own economy.”

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