Germany remains the largest exporter of plastic waste in the EU. However, in the last ten years, exports have almost halved.
Germany exports much less plastic waste abroad than it did a few years ago. Exports in 2021 were a good 766,200 tonnes, a quarter (25.2%) less than a year earlier, the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden reported on Tuesday.
Compared to ten years, this amount has almost halved. Germany remains the largest exporter of plastic waste in the EU.
The Chinese ban is a factor
In addition to disrupted supply chains, one of the reasons for the decline in exports may be import restrictions in some Asian countries, explain the statisticians. “In 2021, less than a ton of plastic waste went from Germany to China – ten years earlier, the People’s Republic of Poland was still the largest recipient with 763,400 tons.” China banned the import of unsorted plastic waste in 2018.
Exports to other Asian countries and regions also fell significantly in 2021 or were almost completely eliminated by similar rules: 99% were exported to Hong Kong. less plastic waste than in 2020 and 94 percent. and 92 percent less to Taiwan and Indonesia.
Disposal in developing countries is particularly critical
The most important recipients of plastic waste from Germany in 2021 was the Netherlands, which has an important transhipment point for sea freight with the port of Rotterdam. Turkey and Poland followed.
Environmentalists are critical of the export of waste. They warn of environmental damage if garbage ends up in poorer countries, and there is almost no control over where it is located. Exports to neighboring EU countries such as the Netherlands are considered less critical as their recycling standards are similarly high.
There is a lot of plastic waste, especially in private households. According to statisticians, in 2020 public waste disposal companies in Germany collected more mixed recyclable materials and mixed packaging than ever since the beginning of the household waste survey in 2014 (dpa)