Tuesday, 27th april 2021 | Circular economy
Marco Arezio - Consulente materie plastiche - Is Germany Virtuous in Plastic Waste Management?

Germany, a virtuous country in many respects, industrial, economic, financial and social, lives with a serious problem concerning its plastic waste.

In fact, every year it exports about one million tons of plastic waste worth about 254 million euros, remaining the largest exporter of plastic waste in Europe, with about 1.5 million tons of this type of waste shipped abroad.

Until 2018, China was the main customer for this waste and it was also a convenient way to clean up your home. But since that date, however, the People's Republic has banned the import of some materials from urban and industrial collection systems, including unsorted plastic waste.

Germany, like many other countries in the world, has looked for new ports of call for this type of waste material, finding Malaysia willing to receive them, thus reaching the 17% of German exports.

However, lately, Malaysia is also monitoring the mix of this plastic waste more carefully, starting to refuse some ships after inspections. In 2019, for example, the country returned around 4,000 tons of plastic waste to the countries of origin.

This is why Germany is always looking for new outlets for plastic waste that it does not want to recycle in its own country and, with wonder, right next to casa has found a solution. In fact, the Netherlands collect about 15% of German waste with logistical costs much cheaper than shipping it to the Far East.

In a comparison between the countries of the European Union, Germany is by far the largest exporter with over one million tons of plastic waste, followed by Belgium (476,100 tons), the Netherlands (389,900 tons), France (385,600 tons) and Italy (206,100 tons).

There is still more space for improvement when it comes to recycling: only a fraction of the waste collected in Germany is destined for incineration and recovery, according to data from the German Federal Office.

In fact, in 2019 38 million tons of waste from separate collection were collected, an average of 457 kilograms of household waste per capita and, according to competent authority, only one third is recycled or incinerated.

Automatic translation. We apologize for any inaccuracies. Original article in Italian.

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