Asian Countries Send Trash Back to Where it Came From

Several developing countries in Asia have had enough of the developed world's trash — so they're sending it back. 🚼

Demanding a ban on foreign import waste and for the remaining trash to be sent back to the original countries

Several developing Asian nations are now sending trash back to developed countries. Developing countries first decided to take in the waste because it was a source of income. For developed countries, sending their “recyclable” waste overseas is cheap, reduces domestic landfill, helps meet recycling targets. But only 9% of the world's plastic is recycled, according to a 2018 study by National Geographic. Unrecyclable materials end up being burned illegally, dumped in landfills and waterways. Beijing's ban on plastic waste imports sent rich economies like the U.S., Europe and Japan scrambling for alternative destinations for their recyclables, settling in many cases on Southeast Asia.

This is an illegal factory nearby our community, less than one kilometer [away]. There is recycled plastic waste, and we found this waste actually a lot from developed countries like USA, Australia, UK, Switzerland, Japan. We found the factory, they just dump the non-recyclable plastic or the rejected product, then they burn (it) in the backyard of this factory. So those toxic fumes actually already caused a lot of health problems to our residents,” adss Pua Lay Peng, environmentalist.

This can then cause respiratory illnesses, water contamination, crop deaths. The moves come after China, the longtime major trash importer, stopped accepting scraps last year. Seeing a huge influx of garbage into the region, Southeast Asian countries are refusing to become a dumping ground for developed economies' waste. China imported most of the world's plastic waste. But in 2018, it banned it due to concerns about contamination and pollution. The exports were then redirected to Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand
Until they also decided to send trash back. Cambodia has just announced it will send 1,600 tons of plastic waste back to the U.S. and Canada.


08/15/2019 10:19 AM


  • Phreland W.
    07/06/2021 17:02


  • Breana R.
    09/09/2019 16:26

    Rather than incur the additional impact of shipping it back they should just charge the countries/companies a storage or process fee and find a way to responsibly manage it i.e. recycle it like they were paid to do...

  • Angela W.
    09/06/2019 19:54

    Good for these countries staring to wake up to this huge problem..maybe now the main culprit s will start looking at not making this shit in the first place...then they'll have no worries about getting rid of it. Shame on them all..

  • Nadia S.
    09/05/2019 14:59

    So it's useless to recycleâ˜č All recyclable end up in another countryđŸ€”

  • Scott D.
    08/30/2019 14:10

    what a crock of PURE $hit. 90%+ of the trash in the worlds oceans comes from 10 rivers. 7 in Asia 3 in Africa. Indonesia in the worlds #2 polluter behind China. They are doing the square root of jack $hit to clean up anything.

  • Craig M.
    08/30/2019 02:11

    How is it that you let so many illegal recycling businesses set up right under your nose in the first place??

  • Shelly Q.
    08/29/2019 22:45

    This is BS! The US is ranked very high on waste management. China, India, and other Asian Pacific countries are the largest contributors of trash pollution.

  • Andrew H.
    08/29/2019 20:27

    reduce consumption and waste

  • Anthony D.
    08/29/2019 15:50

    China has 10×

  • Ken S.
    08/28/2019 07:15

    I think every country should deal with their trash in their country, not others. The same for these countries not wanting to import another country's trash

  • Sonia E.
    08/28/2019 05:57

    Even if you recycle correctly not all plastic can be reused for new plastic..its so much trash its just crazy cuz we dont see all the land fills from all 50 states ...and this countries have a right to say no

  • Angela B.
    08/24/2019 02:49

    They need to make recycling easier and mandatory.

  • Emely R.
    08/23/2019 23:42


  • Susan K.
    08/22/2019 06:36

    Well done. Put responsibility back where it belongs

  • David S.
    08/21/2019 23:15

    Same ppl that dump garbage in the Pacific..

  • Ron M.
    08/21/2019 00:17

    LOL I don't think there are too many communities that don't have recycle programs.

  • Judy H.
    08/20/2019 22:31

    Why should sending trash to another country be our solution ? Shame on us for being so wasteful!

  • Jennhael A.
    08/19/2019 07:03

    Damn my country malaysia also in the list why take the waste from other countries ever our so much trash..

  • Andrian Y.
    08/18/2019 12:16

    Yes they have a issue in our country Philippines,, they send the garbage and they wont accept it back if there not sanitised,

  • Craig N.
    08/17/2019 19:40

    Fine the companies that send it there in the first place and actually force them to build facilities at home to process it all! Oh, and develop better ways of recycling plastic, including difficult products.

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