Germans Recycle Their Plastic, Right?

And this makes them feel good about themselves. They do it for the environment, you see. Their environment, it turns out. Because when all their plastic finally gets processed in their big plastic recycle machine thingy or whatever the hell it is, most of it has somehow ended up in… Souutheast Asia. It’s magic.

Plastic

Officially, the country’s recycling rate is 36 percent. But critics say this number is far from the ugly truth. A new packaging law even states that by 2022, 63 percent of all plastic waste should be recycled. But Peter Kurth, director of the Association of German Disposal-, Water- and Resource-Economy (BDE), said he considers this number utopian…

What cannot be economically recycled usually finds its way to the incinerator, for example in plants in the chemical or cement industries, Kurth said, where burning plastic becomes a substitute fuel for oil and gas. But there is more plastic waste than all cement and chemical plants in Germany need. Kurth said what is not sold to customers in Germany is sold to Asia.

“While Germans are world champions of trash separation, not everything they toss into the yellow bin reserved for plastic packaging gets recycled. It is often incinerated. Statistics show that only 15 percent will actually be reused.”

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