A worker rests on a metal scrap near old ships that are to be recycled at a demolition site in Jakarta
A worker rests on a metal scrap near old ships that are to be recycled at a demolition site in Jakarta, Indonesia.REUTERS/Beawiharta

Indonesia is sending back to the UK 1,800 tons of waste that was reportedly exported in violation of global norms of recyclable waste.

According to the UK-based Environment Agency, the nature of the waste came to light in January when investigators screened 89 containers that had made their way from Britain to the Tanjung Priok port in Indonesia.

Indonesia, which accepts scrap metal for recycling, refused the contents of the containers on the ground that they contained a mix of waste.

Environment Minister for Indonesia Balthasar Kambuaya said the country did not have a problem accepting material that is clean and safe. He expressed his disappointment saying the material that had reached Indonesian shores was garbage with a mix of dry, wet and some smelly and dripping waste, reported the BBC.

The containers had asphalt, plastic and liquid mixed with scrap metal.

As many as 51 containers were held back or returned to the UK in 2011, while in 2010, 31 requests for return of illegal contaminated waste were made to the Environment Agency, according to the BBC.

Andy Higham, who is leading the Environment Agency probe into the contaminated containers issue, assured that action would be taken against illegal export of waste, reported Yahoo news.

The containers that are expected to return to the UK in early April will be fumigated to guarantee safety for the officers who will later carry out investigations.