Despite claims the EU is taking recycling matters seriously, the bloc is sending its waste to China, which means it ends up in landfills or the sea

In a bid to become the most ‘ecologically friendly’ political bloc in the world, the EU has passed scores of legislation dictating how European nations can dispose of waste.

However, taking advantage of lapsed environmental regulations in China has meant the EU has shipped an astonishing amount of ‘recycled waste’ into Chinese hands – and subsequently, landfills, or the sea.

According to UK based Guido: ‘Supposedly ‘recycled’ waste from the EU is being sent to Asia to take advantage of poorly enforced environmental regulations resulting in large amounts of plastic being dumped in the ocean. The practice causes severe harm to local marine life. Around 20% of the 85 million tons of waste sent to Asian countries ends up in the sea…’

Since the Chinese banned waste imports, the shipments are being diverted to other Asian countries. Dr Mikko Paunio of the GWPF said:

“The effects look as though they will be appalling. We can expect a great deal more plastic to end up in the environment, and in the oceans in particular. If the EU was serious about its war against marine pollution it should consider banning the export of plastic recyclate rather than banning plastic straws or taxing incineration.”

This large quantity of waste being exported is mainly caused by High Landfill Taxes set by the EU which force European countries to send their waste to countries where environmental standards are poorly enforced. EU waste isn’t only financial…


Waste snapshot

Of the 56.4 million tons of paper EU citizens threw away in 2016, some 8 million ended up in China, purchased by recycling centers that turn it into cardboard and send it back to Europe as packaging for Chinese exports. That same year, the EU collected 8.4 million tons of plastic waste, and sent 1.6 million tons to China.