China took 95% of Ireland’s plastic waste – but now it’s changed its mind and we’re in trouble
IRELAND’S INCREASING WASTE and plastic levels are soon to meet emergency levels following China’s ban on imported plastics, according to one government source.
China – the world’s largest recyclable materials importer – decided to ban the importing of plastics from European countries, such as Ireland, last year. The policy came into effect on 1 January.
China took 95% of Ireland’s plastic waste in 2016, but a ban will mean that’s no longer possible. While many other European nations are searching for alternative waste-management solutions, Ireland is in a particularly dire situation.
Ireland is the top producer of plastic waste in the European Union, according to the latest Eurostat figures.
The statistics show that of Europe’s top five plastic waste offenders (calculated per capita), Ireland is top of the pile, producing 61 kilogrammes per person, per year.
Only two other countries produce plastic waste over 40 kilogrammes. Luxembourg comes in at second place below Ireland, producing 52 kilogrammes per person, while Estonia produces 46 kilogrammes.
In fourth place as one of the worst offenders, Germany produces 37 kilogrammes, followed by Portugal which produces 36 kilogrammes per person each year.