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Waste in a sorting plant for lightweight packaging

Photo: Bernd Thissen / dpa

Germany is shipping significantly less plastic waste abroad than it used to. Last year, exports amounted to 745,100 tonnes, according to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden. As a result, the amount of plastic waste exported has fallen by 51 percent over the past ten years – mainly due to import restrictions imposed by some Asian countries.

This means that Germany continues to be the largest exporter of plastic waste in the EU, but the gap to the other countries has shrunk significantly. Most of the plastic waste from Germany went to the Netherlands, followed by Turkey and Poland in second and third place among the most important customer countries.

From the Netherlands to the world

The Netherlands, on the other hand, exports a lot of waste via its port in Rotterdam. In an EU comparison, the country is the second largest exporter of waste, followed by Belgium, which also has a major container port in Antwerp.

According to studies, plastic waste, even from Western industrialized countries, often ends up in the world's oceans and pollutes the environment heavily. The Federal Statistical Office announced the data on the occasion of World Oceans Day on 8 June.