LOCAL authorities have been criticised for sending paper to be recycled in China.
Ukip has hit out after discovering that some recyclables are being shipped more than 5,000 miles away.
Council officials say Veolia UK – which disposes of waste for Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council – is sending some paper abroad due to a reduction in recycling capacity in the UK.
Alex Spurge, a member of Ukip Havant, said: ‘Recycling is something we all should be encouraged to do in Havant.
‘However, it might come as a surprise that some 30,000 tonnes of recyclable paper and a significant percentage of Hampshire’s other recycling is being shipped to China by Hampshire County Council, with this fact of course not mentioned on its recycling website.’
He added: ‘At a time when we are all told to reduce our carbon footprint, shipping the waste to China only increases it dramatically, despite adequate recycling facilities existing in the UK.’
Councillor Sean Woodward, who is in charge of environment at the county council, said: ‘The recent closure of a number of UK paper mills, notably UPM Shotton and Aylesford Newsprint, has resulted in a significant reduction in available UK paper processing capacity which has led to significant market fluctuation and instability.
‘This has resulted in a need for all local authorities to identify and secure alternative markets.
‘To ensure Hampshire paper continues to be recycled, Veolia has sought alternative markets both in the UK and abroad.
‘As a result, Hampshire paper is currently being processed in the UK as well as being exported to paper mills in China for recycling.’
He said a full audit trail was ‘maintained at all times’ to ensure mills in China complied with the law.