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Plastic waste in Europe - Statistics & Facts

Since plastics first became popular more than half a century ago, annual production has increased significantly. In 1950, global plastic production amounted to 1.5 million metric tons. In comparison, 359 million metric tons was produced in 2018, of which 61.8 million metric tons were produced in Europe. Much of the plastic demand in Europe is for the packaging sector.

Plastic waste generation

Unsurprisingly, plastic packaging accounts for the highest share of plastic waste generation in the European Union. Although Germany generates the most plastic packaging waste in the EU, Ireland generates the most plastic packaging waste per inhabitant at almost 60 kilograms per capita. On average, EU citizens generate approximately 30 kilograms of plastic packaging waste per capita every year.

Plastic waste management

In 2018, the volume of plastic waste collected in the EU totaled 29.1 million metric tons. Of this amount, just 9.4 million metric tons was recycled, whilst 7.2 million metric tons was disposed of at landfill sites. The majority of plastic waste collected was from plastic packaging. The annual recycling rate of plastic packaging in the EU has been steadily rising each year, but is still below 50 percent. Plastic waste is often exported to other countries, especially developing nations in Asia. China was once the main destination for plastic waste exports from the EU. However, China imposed strict standards on foreign plastic waste imports in 2018, which dramatically reduced the volume of waste it imported from Europe. Since then, other nations such as Malaysia and Turkey have increased the volume of waste they take in.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Plastic waste in Europe" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Production & demand

Waste generation

Recycling & treatment

Trade

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Plastic waste in Europe".

Plastic waste in Europe

Dossier on the topic

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Plastic waste in Europe - Statistics & Facts

Since plastics first became popular more than half a century ago, annual production has increased significantly. In 1950, global plastic production amounted to 1.5 million metric tons. In comparison, 359 million metric tons was produced in 2018, of which 61.8 million metric tons were produced in Europe. Much of the plastic demand in Europe is for the packaging sector.

Plastic waste generation

Unsurprisingly, plastic packaging accounts for the highest share of plastic waste generation in the European Union. Although Germany generates the most plastic packaging waste in the EU, Ireland generates the most plastic packaging waste per inhabitant at almost 60 kilograms per capita. On average, EU citizens generate approximately 30 kilograms of plastic packaging waste per capita every year.

Plastic waste management

In 2018, the volume of plastic waste collected in the EU totaled 29.1 million metric tons. Of this amount, just 9.4 million metric tons was recycled, whilst 7.2 million metric tons was disposed of at landfill sites. The majority of plastic waste collected was from plastic packaging. The annual recycling rate of plastic packaging in the EU has been steadily rising each year, but is still below 50 percent. Plastic waste is often exported to other countries, especially developing nations in Asia. China was once the main destination for plastic waste exports from the EU. However, China imposed strict standards on foreign plastic waste imports in 2018, which dramatically reduced the volume of waste it imported from Europe. Since then, other nations such as Malaysia and Turkey have increased the volume of waste they take in.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Plastic waste in Europe".

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