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> In May, the Malaysian government said it would return up to 100 tonnes of Australian waste because it was too contaminated to recycle. It was part of 450 tonnes of imported plastic waste it sent back to countries across the globe. Malaysia’s environment minister, Yeo Bee Yin, said the rubbish was infested with maggots and declared Malaysia would “fight back” and “not be the dumping ground of the world.”

Am I the only one weirded out that this story keeps coming up and that everyone seems to ignore the whole "sending people something they didn't ask for when they paid for something else" aspect?

It's like someone coming to pick up your old furniture to donate to Goodwill, mixing it in with bags of dog poop and selling it to them as "mixed furniture".

Of course they're going to send it back. Of course they're going to be offended that you treat them with such disrespect.

But it's untrue to say "Goodwill won't take any more furniture", they just don't want the dog poop.

I don't disagree, but the issue is that picking out "the dog poop" wrecks the cost/benefit balance of recycling vs landfilling it all.

Is there some reason the articles never say that clearly? I don't really understand the angle they're taking.

I mean this specific article actually interviews someone that's added a robot machine for sorting plastic bottles. Presumably the idea is that this is economically sound, and whether it is or not, it seems like it should have been spelled out.

Feels like they wanted to leave the impression that it's uneconomic to recycle, bit didn't actually have facts to back that up.

If you're interested in this topic I highly recommend Adam Minter as better source on this stuff. He adopts a strictly economic perspective on the recycling trade which makes way more sense.


This is exactly what I was going to point out. Sending something that the buyer didn't ask for is fraud, and should be treated as such. That doesn't mean that all (or even most) such transactions are fraud.

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