Netherlands is the largest exporter of plastic waste in Europe
Last year, the Netherlands was the country in the European Union that exported the most plastic waste to countries that may not be able to process it properly, the Plastic Soup Foundation reported Friday after its own investigation. According to the foundation, the country therefore plays a major role in "the shadowy trade in plastic waste."
Globally, only Japan and the United States exported more plastic waste to countries that were not part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2021. These are countries that often do not have the right infrastructure to properly process that waste, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. In many cases, the waste is dumped in the open air and incinerated, after which harmful substances and plastic residues can affect the environment and human health.
The Netherlands exported a total of 200 million kilos of waste, of which 70 million kilos went to Indonesia and 64 million to Vietnam. The Plastic Soup Foundation has mapped the numbers using a database of import and export information from nearly 200 states or regions of the world.
According to the foundation, the export of plastic waste to vulnerable countries is only increasing, even if the rules are tightened. "In 2021, there was even more than a doubling compared to 2020." According to the foundation, it is unclear why the export of plastic waste is increasing.
The foundation advocates that the export of plastic waste to countries outside the EU should be restricted. "The Netherlands in particular –– as the largest transit port for plastic waste –– must take its responsibility in this."
Reporting by ANP