The Environment Agency has revealed that it has found waste that was not suitable for export in a UK shipment of containers that was sent back from Brazil. The containers were described as mixed plastics when they left the UK.
The agency said it is a significant development in its investigation into the export of the waste from the UK. It is legal to export waste such as plastics to some countries for recycling, but illegal to export waste for disposal.
Three men have already been arrested in connection with the ongoing enquiry.
A team of environmental crime investigators from the Environment Agency have opened 14 of the 81 containers that were returned last month.
Nappies, wellington boots, torn and dirty textiles, cat food pouches and rotting cardboard have all been collected as evidence in the case.
Andrew Higham, Head of the Environment Agency’s National Environment Crime Unit, said:
" Waste in this state is clearly not suitable for recycling and should never have been exported.
"This is completely unacceptable and we will not allow this type of waste to be sent to developing countries.
"Our examination of the contents the containers is vital to help us to gather evidence for our ongoing enquiry into the source of this waste."
Earlier this month, officers from the Environmental Crime Team raided premises in Swindon with assistance from Wiltshire Police, who arrested a 49-year old man, a 28-year old man and a 24-year old man in connection to the ongoing enquiry.