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Germany, Japan, & UK ‘top three plastic waste exporting countries’



End Ocean Plastic claims around five million tonnes of used plastic are exported each year, 55% of which are discarded.

Key report findings showed the top 10 countries export more than 4.4 million tonnes of plastic waste per year, accounting for 71% of all plastic waste exports.

Additionally, the top 10 exporting countries are all high-income, developed nations, and seven of them are in Europe.

It said The Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany are the top three importers of plastic waste, while many nations have reduced their plastic waste exports over the past year – notably the US by 28%, and Germany by 6%.

In the last year, Japan’s exports have increased by 7%, Canada’s have grown by 10%, while the Netherlands’ have shot up by 69% in the past four years.

Analysts continue to insist exporting plastic waste has become a cheaper way for some of the wealthiest countries to avoid having to recycle, reuse, or properly process millions of tonnes of their own garbage, maintaining the impression that they’re progressing towards their net-zero targets.

The CleanHub report looks at the ongoing legislation around plastic waste, as well as accusing polluters affecting the environment by:

  • Polluting oceans: 5% of ocean plastic pollution is made up of waste exports, a total of around 635,000 tonnes of bottles, bags, plates, and other waste.
  • Polluting countries: exported plastic waste is routinely burned illegally, which sends toxic chemical pollutants into the air, or dumped illegally, causing toxins to seep into ground and water supplies.
  • Polluting atmosphere: the five million tonnes of plastic exports are mainly shipped abroad, which emits 320,900 tonnes of CO2 annually.


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