SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The recent data released by Eurostat provides clear picture of how plastic waste is treated in the European countries.
The most commonly used way to dispose of plastic waste in Europe is energy recovery, which accounts for 42.6% of total plastic waste. Nearly 24.9% of plastic waste is landfilled, whereas the remaining 32.5% is recycled.
The region exports almost 50% of the plastic waste collected for recycling to be treated in countries outside the EU. The recent restrictions imposed by Chinese administration on imports of plastic waste into the country will further reduce EU export volumes. Consequently, the region is likely to see corresponding surge in incineration and landfilling of plastic waste. The region lacks adequate infrastructure, technology and resources to treat waste domestically.
Incidentally, the worldwide plastic production has recorded exponential growth over the past few decades, rising from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950’s to approximately 360 million tonnes in 2018. Obviously, increased production results in larger amounts of plastic waste. The production had remained subdued during the initial half of the current year, due to Covid-19 pandemic. However, the production has managed to gain momentum during H2 2021.