The world, "flooded" with plastic waste

English Section / 11 iunie

The world, "flooded" with plastic waste

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OECD: Annual global production of plastic waste has doubled in two decades

In just two decades, the annual global production of plastic waste has doubled, from 180 million tons to more than 350 million tons, according to the Global Plastics Outlook report of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), cited by Statista .

According to the source, plastic waste is expected to triple worldwide by 2060, with half of this amount estimated to end up in landfills, while less than a fifth will be recycled.

In recent years, increased awareness of the extent and dangers of plastic pollution has paved the way for stronger political intervention. As Euronews reported last year, more than a hundred countries have already totally or partially banned single-use plastic bags. At the same time, many states also ban other types of single-use items, such as cutlery and chopsticks for mixing drinks.

Given that packaging represents almost 40% of the total plastic waste generated worldwide (by weight), reducing and recycling it is a priority in the fight against plastic pollution, notes the cited source.

An Ipsos survey conducted in 2022, on a sample of over 23,000 respondents, shows that 70% of people surveyed in 34 countries around the world agreed that there should be international standards banning single-use plastic.

The European Union tightens the rules on the export of waste

The European Parliament gave the green light, at the end of February, to stricter rules on waste exports from the EU, which prohibit the transport of plastic waste to countries that are not part of the OECD, AFP announces, according to Agerpres.

MEPs voted almost unanimously to confirm the agreement reached in mid-November 2023 between the negotiators of the Parliament and those of the member states. The text, which revises the 2006 legislation, maintains the ban on the export of waste destined for disposal to third countries. It also confirms the ban on the export of "hazardous waste intended for recovery" to countries outside the OECD. In addition, exports to non-OECD countries (which represent most of the world) will now only be allowed if they have the facilities to "manage them in an environmentally sound way" , according to some audits assigned to independent bodies. Audit information will be made available to waste exporters in a centralized register by the European Commission.

The new rules require EU member states to provide for "effective and proportionate sanctions" in case of violation, with fines or the revocation of waste export authorizations.

In 2022, the EU exported 32.1 million tons of waste (of which 12.4 million tons to Turkey, 3.5 million to India and 1.6 million to Egypt), according to Eurostat.

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