Indonesia to send back 79 illegal waste containers to UK, US, Australia and New Zealand

Indonesian Customs officials opening containers suspected of containing illegal waste

The Indonesian Government is to return 79 illegal waste containers to UK, US, Australia and New Zealand by the end of January.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it would be repatriating the containers in a virtual meeting with the embassies of the four nations.


These containers were labelled as mostly waste paper and cardboard but were found to contain hazardous materials (known as B3).

Examples of materials found in the containers by Indonesian Customs authorities

Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs director of America and Europe Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya said at the meeting: “In accordance with the Basel Convention, cross-country imports containing B3 waste are not allowed, so the Indonesian Government must return it to the sending country.”

The containers were verified by officials across the Indonesian Government and confirmed that they included the illegal waste.

Photos from the containers were highlighted during the virtual meeting with embassies from the four nations the containers will be returned to

A total of 107 containers were confiscated by the Indonesian Government in 2019, but 28 of these went through a re-examination process that means they will not be returned to the nation of origin.

The Indonesian Government has not said how many containers will be returned to each of the four nations.

However, the representatives of UK, US, Australia and New Zealand promised to cooperate with the Indonesian Government on returning the containers.

Indonesia has recently introduced tougher inspection rules including an importer registration system.

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