Podcast: Into the Wasteland, Part 3: Buried in Europe’s Recycling | Popgen Tech
- The European Commission estimates that the illegal handling of recycling and other waste represents around 15-30% of the total EU waste trade, generating 9.5 billion euros annually.
- Our team visits a facility in Poland that is supposed to handle British recycling, but finds it closed and infested with rats.
- We also speak to the ‘James Bond of waste trade’ who reveals that much recycling is ‘washed’ via the Netherlands and sent to countries where such resources are often dumped, not recycled.
- This is the final episode in Mongabay’s three-part “true eco-crime” series, where investigative reporters track England’s – and Europe’s – huge illegal waste problem.
We all send our recycling somewhere for proper handling, but the operation of one such handling center in Poland makes one wonder, is it being done properly, or at all?
The European Commission estimates that the illegal handling of such waste represents around 15-30% of the total EU waste trade, generating EUR 9.5 billion in annual revenue.
So in part 3 of our investigative podcast series, the Outriders team sends journalist Eva Dunal to visit one such recycling facility in the pretty town of Zielona Góra near the Polish-German border, and find out how unpopular it is with the neighbors is, and especially the city council. They also speak to Jim Puckett, the ‘James Bond of waste trade’ at Basel Action Network, who reveals that much recycling is ‘washed’ via the Netherlands and sent to countries where such resources are often dumped, not recycled.
This episode is called “The Wastelands”, and is the third and final installment of the podcast series, “Into the Wasteland”, developed with the support of Journalismfund.eu.
This “true eco-crime” series is produced by investigative environmental journalists Lucy Taylor and Dan Ashby, who trace the UK’s illegal “waste route” from their quiet English village to the nearby countryside and as far as Poland and Malaysia.
In episode one, the pair meet an entrepreneur turned freelance crime investigator who survives a desperate flight across the British countryside from a gang of illegal waste dumpers – and their dogs – when his late night eviction goes wrong, listen here:
In episode two, the team describe how 20% of the UK’s waste is handled in this illegal way, and how the government seems powerless to stop it. it is one in five waste disposal companies that operate like criminal enterprises.
“If one in five cafes were run by criminals, wouldn’t we know about it?” one of the investigators asked rhetorically. Listen here:
If you enjoy this series, subscribe to or follow the Mongabay newscast where you get podcasts from Apple to Spotify. You can also listen to all episodes here on the Mongabay website or download our free app for Apple and Android devices to get fingertip access to new shows and all our past episodes.
Find more of Taylor and Ashby’s work on their website and follow them on Twitter for updates via @lucytaylor and @danielashby.
Banner image: The closed Eurokey recycling plant in the town of Zielona Góra. Image by Eva Dunal/Outriders.
See episode one, here:
Podcast: True Eco-Crime in the UK, ‘Into the Wasteland’ Part 1