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Plastic waste: The USA is the largest polluter in the world

2021-12-02T13:12:18.654Z

Despite the zero waste movement and corporate initiatives, no country produces as much plastic waste as the United States. And Germany is also at the forefront.



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Plastic waste on the beach in Senegal: up to 53 million tons annually

Photo: Nic Bothma / dpa

The USA is the largest producer of plastic waste in the world.

That is the result of a US study.

In total, the United States produced around 42 million tons of plastic waste in 2016 - twice as much as China and more than all of the 28 countries in the European Union put together at the time, wrote the authors of the expert report that was presented to the US government on Wednesday.

The authors urged the government to act.

According to the report, every US citizen generated an average of 130 kilograms of plastic waste per year in 2016, followed by Great Britain with just under 99 kilograms per capita and South Korea with a good 88 kilograms per year. In China it was therefore just under 16 kilograms per capita; Germany is listed in the report with a good 81 kilograms per capita for 2016. The EU average including Great Britain was around 55.5 kilos per citizen.

"The success of the miraculous invention of plastic in the 20th century has also led to a global flood of plastic waste," wrote the chairwoman of the expert committee convened by the US Congress, Margaret Spring.

According to this, global plastic production rose from 20 million tons in 1966 to 381 million tons in 2015. That is a 20-fold increase within half a century.

A lot of rubbish ends up in the environment

According to the report, an estimated eight million tons of plastic waste enter the environment annually. That corresponds to a garbage truck per minute. At the current rate, the amount of plastic in the sea could reach 53 million tons annually by 2030, which would be around half the total weight of the fish caught annually from the sea. One of the reasons for this is that plastic recycling is not keeping pace with plastic production.

The report proposes a number of measures to deal with the crisis.

It is particularly important to produce less new plastic.

Other proposed measures include the use of materials that degrade faster and are easier to recycle, the reduction of certain single-use plastics and improved waste management, for example through techniques to remove microplastics from sewage.

more on the subject

Ten million tons of plastic per year: What can be done to stop the littering of the oceans?

Perhaps a stock exchange by Claus Hecking

"This is the most comprehensive and damning report on plastic pollution that has ever been published," said the president of the environmental organization "Beyond Plastics", Judith Enk.

Collecting rubbish in the sea will not save the oceans.

jlk / AFP

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-12-02

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