Share of macroplastics in freshwater environments in Europe 2019

Of all identifiable plastic litter items found in European freshwater environments, plastic bottles were the most prevalent. With a share of 14 percent, they were more commonly found than food wrappers, which were the second most common macroplastic identified.

In a survey with UK residents, it was found that 73 percent said they would use a reusable water bottle if they could help themselves to drinking water in shops or cafes, without the need to ask for permission.

Most prevalent macroplastics in European freshwater environments as of 2019

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Release date

April 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The source provides the following methodology " From the available studies, the average percentage of litter that was plastic was 71% (±26%). Of this total plastic litter, the studies showed an average of 26% (±34%) of identifiable items made of plastic. To combine these studies in a robust manner and given that there was a large difference in the amount of litter collected in each study (445 to 120,600 litter items counted), we used weighted percentages based on the total number of items in each study. This resulted in the reported percentages for each item, which are out of all identifiable plastic litter items found in the freshwater environment."

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Statistics on "Plastic waste in Europe"

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