Home » 158,000 tons of plastic waste: Germany will export 30% more plastic waste to Asia in 2023

158,000 tons of plastic waste: Germany will export 30% more plastic waste to Asia in 2023

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158,000 tons of plastic waste: Germany will export 30% more plastic waste to Asia in 2023

According to a new study by the Waste Disposal Association (BDE), the export of German plastic waste to Asia increased significantly last year.

According to BDE information, around 158,000 tonnes of plastic waste were shipped from the Federal Republic to Asia in 2023, which corresponds to an increase of around 51,000 tonnes compared to the previous year.

An increase in exports had already been recorded in 2022, but at that time only by six percent. Destinations for these exports include countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Plastic waste environmental pollution. Photo: Unsplash, Hermes Rivera

Despite this increase, exports to Asia only make up a small proportion of the more than six million tonnes of plastic waste recycled in Germany every year. These exports are not viewed as waste, but rather as raw materials that are processed in other countries, for example into textiles, street bollards or benches.

The waste management industry sees a certain amount of such exports as part of regular business in a globalized world. She argues that this can meet the need for such raw materials in other parts of the world and, if used properly, will add value to the economy.

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Problem with plastic waste exports:

Environmental impact: Transporting plastic waste over long distances poses a significant environmental risk, particularly in terms of CO2 emissions from transport and the potential risk of pollution during transport. Lack of control: In some cases, plastic waste exports to Asia can result in the waste not being properly treated or recycled. This can lead to environmental pollution, especially if the waste ends up in illegal landfills or is not recycled properly. Health risks: Improper disposal of plastic waste can pose health risks to people in destination countries, especially those who live near landfills or carry out hand sorting and recycling. Dependency on external markets: Outsourcing plastic waste recycling activities to other countries may result in Germany and other exporting countries becoming dependent on external markets to dispose of their waste. This may jeopardize the long-term sustainability of waste management.

Overall, the problem is that exporting plastic waste to Asia often does not provide a sustainable solution to waste management and instead exacerbates the problems of overproduction and inadequate recycling management in exporting countries.

Sources:

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