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Sugar Cookie

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Toxic sludge and tonnes of plastic lined with maggots will be sent back to Australia after they were rejected by Indonesian authorities.

The 13-tonne container packed with garbage, plastic waste and hazardous materials violated import rules, custom officials on Batam island said.

The Australian container is one of 49 to be sent back to developed countries including the United States, France, Germany and Hong Kong.

'We are coordinating the with the importer to immediately process their return,' customs office spokesman Sumarna told AFP.

Susila Brata, the head of the region's Customs office, said the Australian waste had come from Melbourne.

'The Australian container was visibly contaminated with trash, so we did a test. It was the stench, the colour and the type of plastic items,' he told The Age.

Pictures from the shipping container show familiar household products like Greek Yoghurt and Streets Blue Ribbon tubs as well as car engine oil bottles.

Among the plastic waste, maggots were spotted and black sludge covered the base of the container.

'This is the first batch of containers that were intercepted... We stopped these ones because of an intelligence report from our officers,' Mr Susila said.

'The Environment ministry has finished the testing and found the Australian container is contaminated with B3 [toxic waste].'

B3 waste is hazardous and toxic materials deemed to pose a threat to the environment and endanger human health. It also include medical waste and materials which could be explosive or inflammable.

There are currently 65 containers filled with waste impounded at Batam's Batu Ampar port.

In 2018, global recycling was thrown into chaos when China decided to ban imports of foreign plastic waste.

Developed nations quickly redirected huge quantities of rubbish to Southeast Asia.

Last month, Jakarta returned five containers of waste to the United States, joining a chorus of Southeast Asian nations increasingly unhappy about being used as dumping grounds for trash.

In the same month, the Philippines returned about 69 containers of rubbish to Canada.

In May, neighbouring Malaysia vowed to ship back hundreds of tonnes of plastic waste and are likely be the first country in Southeast Asia to return waste to Australia.

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