Indonesia has said it would send more than 210 tonnes of rubbish back to Australia, as Southeast Asian nations push back against serving as dumping grounds for foreign waste.

The eight containers seized in Surabaya city should have contained only waste paper, but authorities also found hazardous material and household rubbish including plastic bottles and packaging, used nappies, electronic waste and cans, a spokesman for the East Java customs agency told AFP.

Following the inspection the Indonesian environment ministry recommended "the items be re-exported," the agency said in a separate statement yesterday.

"This is done to protect the public and Indonesian environment, especially in East Java, from B3 waste," it added, referring to hazardous and toxic materials.

Chief of the port's customs told Reuters three companies were involved in the shipment and were responsible to re-export after an investigation.

China's decision in 2018 to ban imports of foreign plastic waste threw global recycling into chaos, leaving developed nations struggling to find places to send their waste.

Huge quantities of rubbish have since been redirected to Southeast Asia, but opposition to handling exported rubbish is growing in the region.

Indonesia announced last week it was sending back 49 containers full of waste to France and other developed nations.

In May, neighbouring Malaysia announced it was shipping 450 tonnes of imported plastic waste back to its sources, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The Philippines, meanwhile, returned about 69 containers of rubbish back to Canada last month, putting an end to a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Global concern over plastic pollution has been spurred by images of waste-clogged rivers in Southeast Asia and accounts of dead sea creatures found with kilos of rubbish in their stomachs.

Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), with much of it ending up in landfills or polluting the seas, in what has become a growing international crisis.

Additional reporting Reuters