Canada welcomes back its garbage as a ship carrying 69 containers of waste mislabeled as plastic recyclables were returned to the rightful owners. The Canada-Philippines dispute over waste started back in 2013 when a recycling company shipped mislabeled Canadian garbage to Manila. After a Filipino court ruled in 2016 that the garbage must be returned, Canadians made arrangements this May to accept it and bring it back home. The waste is said to be sent to a Waste-to-Energy facility in Burnaby where it will be incinerated.

Image credits: Teddy Locsin Jr.

The containers were loaded overnight at the port of Subic in Manila and were sent on a month-long journey to Vancouver last week. After a long-running row over waste export, a Philippine court in 2016 declared the import of Canadian waste (the whole 2,400 tonnes) illegal, which were mislabeled as plastics for recycling.

Image credits: Ecowaste Coalition

Canada says that the waste that was exported to the Philippines some five years ago was a private transaction done by a corporation without the Canadian government’s consent. The port back in Canada checked the containers before they left and verified that they really did contain recyclable plastics, therefore, the Filipino company accepted the shipment.

Image credits: Ecowaste Coalition

Later on, the Canadian company was informed that the container that was supposed to contain recyclable plastics, in fact, contained garbage. Since then, the company has gone bankrupt leaving no legal entity responsible for the action.

Image credits: Ecowaste Coalition

The waste containers caused so much trouble, it even started a diplomatic dispute between the officials of the two countries. Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines even threatened Canada with war and withdrew two of its diplomats from Canada after it failed to meet the deadline to take back its garbage.

Here’s what people had to say