Much of the plastic sent to China is packaging but a Guardian investigation has found that agents for Chinese companies are now buying up and exporting thousands of tonnes of unwashed bottles, containers, and other household waste.
"China is buying up everything it can. It is sucking in material from all over the world and it doesn't give two noodles what it takes," said one plastics recycler who asked not to be identified. "I know of 300 firms, mostly in China, offering to buy my plastics. I have three or four companies cold-calling me every day from China requesting material. They have very cheap labour to sort the material but the shame is that it is being done there and not here. They don't care about the quality, or the contamination. No one checks what is sent or what arrives."
Read the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/sep/20/environment.china