How much plastic is produced each year

Germans produce 38 kilograms of plastic waste per capita

Every German citizen produces around 38 kilograms of plastic waste per year. This is the result of the Plastic Atlas 2019. This puts Germany in the top group in a European comparison.

Berlin - The Germans are among the largest producers of plastic waste in Europe. According to the “Plastic Atlas 2019” published on Thursday by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), every German citizen caused an average of around 38 kilograms of plastic waste in 2016. That was significantly more than the average EU citizen who weighed 24 kilograms. Within the EU, plastic consumption was only higher in Luxembourg at 50.5 kilograms per capita, Ireland (46.2) and Estonia (42.2).

Call for the plastic turnaround

The Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is close to the Greens, and the BUND are calling for a decisive change in direction on several levels against the global flood of plastic waste. In addition to laws on end consumption, manufacturers and the petrochemical industry should be made more responsible, said Barbara Unmüßig, board member of the Böll Foundation. The BUND chairman Hubert Weiger called for a plastic turnaround. This includes a ban on harmful substances in plastics, a ban on microplastics and a massive reduction in plastic waste.

Both also referred to a current Forsa survey as part of the “Plastic Atlas”. According to this, 83 percent of German citizens are in favor of levying taxes on plastic products that are borne by the manufacturers. 86 percent of those questioned also advocate greater participation by companies in the costs of cleaning measures as a result of environmental pollution by plastic. 92 percent are in favor of a ban on plastic waste exports to countries with inadequate environmental and social standards.

Less than one percent is recycled

According to the study by the Böll Foundation and BUND, 8.3 billion tons of plastic were produced worldwide between 1950 and 2015. That corresponds to more than a ton per person who lives on earth today. The bulk of this would be plastics for single-use products and packaging. Not even ten percent of the plastic ever produced has been recycled.

Germany is one of the largest locations for plastics producers and processors in Europe, the "Plastic Atlas" continues. Compared to its size, Germany bears considerable responsibility for global plastic pollution.

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