Germany is the European champion in plastic exportation. Every year, more than a hundred thousand tons of plastic trash is shipped to foreign countries. But why do we do that?
The amount of trash we are producing and consuming on a daily basis cannot be disposed within the country. One-sixt of the trash is shipped abroad on a yearly basis. In the year of 2020 the amount of plastic waste reached one million ton.
A common destination of trash shift is the global south and countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
What happens with our trash abroad?
The local conditions show mostly an insufficient infrastructure, why just a small amount of the trash gets recycled. The major part get burned up or disposed to the downside for the environment.
As a consequence, residuals and emissions occur and lead to the pollution of soil and water bodies.
Why do we separate our trash if It’s going to be exported anyway?
Waste separation is and stays as an important part of the solution. In general, Germany is exporting industrial waste such as foils. The amount of household waste, in particular waste from the yellow bin, is less than 2%.
Apart from that, we can support the recycling system with the careful separation of waste.
The better the separation of different waste types, such as cutting off the aluminum cap from a yogurt cup, the better will be the allocation of single compounds in waste sorting.
Which benefits do import countries gain?
Plastic waste is a global economical good and goes under the current market regulations of supply and demand. In 2020 the price for one ton synthetic waste from Germany was 249 Euro. But why has this type of waste such a high value?
Plastic trash is seen as a commodity. If it’s carefully separated and cleaned, it can be again recycled and reused, for example for clothing.
Many representatives from the waste sector justify their controversial plastic exports. According to them, importing countries are seen as a part of the global circular economy because they have the possibility to reuse the imported waste. After the first use of plastic, it’s not going to be burned but reused, and thus it is a part of a closed circuit.
Greenpeace is criticizing that the majority of the exported waste is not clear and uncontrolled. Thus, the assumptions of representatives get rejected in the public NGO sector. Due to lack of transparency and the potential damage for the environment, NGOs claim for the prohibition of plastic exports.
They are some positive trends visible. In comparison to the prior year, Germany In reduced their plastic export to 8% in 2020. A declining trend was already observed 10 years ago, where the plastic export had a volume of 1,5 million tons.
Even if this trend should give us a positive outlook, it’s important to consider that without political regulations, the current reduction of plastic waste will stay slow.
But you know what? You can be a part of the plastic reduction! With your help, you can reduce your plastic waste consumption and inspire your fellow humans to inform themselves with plastic free alternatives. In our store you can find many great alternatives such as soaps, shampoos or toothpastes. If we reduce our plastic consumption in private households, and claim for awareness, it will increase the pressure on politics to implement necessary regulations! So are you going to join us in our journey? 😉