Waste Sent Back To Austria For Checks After Claims It Was Illegally Shipped To Malaysia

Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash

One hundred tonnes of plastic waste that Greenpeace said was illegally dumped in Malaysia has been shipped back to Austria for officials to investigate.

The samples sent for analysis arrived in the Austrian town of Enns on 22nd February.

The 28 sealed containers had 100 tonnes (220,462 lbs) of waste, only a fraction of the roughly 700 tonnes (1,543,235 lbs) illegally dumped in Malaysia by Austrian companies, according to Greenpeace who broke the story in autumn 2020.


Local media said the waste was sent to a Malaysian waste company on the pretence that it was recyclable plastic, but was actually environmentally hazardous material such as shredded or contaminating electronic waste.

Environmental Minister Leonore Gewessler ordered 100 tonnes (220,462 lbs) of the waste to be sent back to Austria for testing which arrived at Enns early this week.

Samples were taken for chemical evaluation as the analysis will likely reveal the sanctions for the Austrian companies involved in the export.


The total number and names of companies allegedly involved have not been reported, but according to local newspaper Krone, one of the companies is named Mostviertel. (https://bit.ly/3kkXXFH)

Experts are also expected to study the chemical composition of the waste in the coming weeks to determine the best way of disposing of it.

Greenpeace representative Lisa Panhuber said: “The export of waste to countries with very low environmental standards must be prohibited. It is an ecological scandal and madness to ship waste 10,000 kilometres from Austria to a poorer country.


“The government must put a stop to the trash trade and recommend restrictive and uniformed waste export bans at EU level.”

Panhuber added that increasing the longevity of products and making sure they are only designed with components that can be recycled or require fewer chemicals are important factors to help contaminate less.

Last year, 28 plastic waste containers were illegally exported from Austria to Malaysia with some of the contents ending up in a landfill as they could not be recycled.

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