Germany is a big country in the production and consumption of plastics. According to statistics from the German data website Statista, in 2018, Germany produced approximately 19 million tons of plastic composite products, accounting for about one-third of the EU's total plastic products; Germans produced an average of 39 kilograms of plastic waste each year, far exceeding the EU The average value is 33 kg. Most of these plastic garbage comes from shopping bags.
However, Germany is one of the best countries in the world for waste sorting and recycling. Its waste recycling rate is about 65%, and the packaging industry can reach more than 80%, leading the world. According to statistics from the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the utilization rate of plastic packaging in Germany in 2017 was as high as 99.4%, of which about 46% of plastic waste was recycled and about 53% of waste was incinerated to generate energy.
In recent years, relevant German authorities have issued a number of environmental protection policies to reduce plastic waste. Starting in 2015, German supermarkets no longer provide disposable plastic bags for free, which effectively reduces the use of disposable plastic bags. According to statistics from the German Ministry of Environment, since 2015, the consumption of plastic bags in Germany has fallen by 64%.
At the end of 2018, the German Ministry of Environment put forward a "five-point plan", which aims to reduce the production of plastic products and strengthen the recycling of plastic waste. The specific plan is: banning the use of disposable plastic packaging, advocating environmentally friendly packaging, strengthening the use of recyclable plastic products, avoiding the inclusion of plastic in organic waste, opposing marine garbage and advocating the sustainable use of plastic products.
In response to the EU’s ban on the production of disposable plastic products that will take effect in 2021, the German government decided in July 2020 to ban the sale of multiple categories of plastic products, including disposable plastic tableware (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), plastic Straws, plastic swabs, plastic balloon sticks, plastic cups, etc. People must replace these things with recyclable materials.
German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said: "We want to use these measures to change the way people handle plastics. Modern society has produced too much plastic, and many plastic waste products are exported to developing countries, resulting in serious marine pollution. We now need not only to improve plastic recycling technology, but also to advocate a lifestyle that reduces plastic."
German merchants have also responded to the call to reduce plastic sales. German coffee shops have created a kind of "deposit environmental protection cup". When consumers take out coffee, they use a reusable take-out cup, but they need to pay an extra euro deposit. , Return the cup to get the deposit back. In addition, Germany also has many creative companies that "turn waste into treasure". For example, the Pentatonic furniture factory in Berlin uses plastic bottles, disposable cups and other plastic waste that people discard every day to make various tables, chairs and cups. In 2019, 30 companies including the German chemical company BASF established the "Plastic Waste End Alliance" in London. These companies plan to invest a total of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2024 to invent technologies to improve the recycling rate of waste.
In addition to national policies, the German people also have a strong environmental awareness. According to statistics from Statista, in 2018, only 4.5% of Germans would buy plastic bags when shopping for food; 57% of Germans would not buy disposable plastic bags when shopping; 72% of the people supported the levy of plastic bags. As one of the first countries to implement garbage classification, the German people have helped pre-classify garbage disposal by dividing daily garbage into four categories since 1991, greatly reducing pollution during garbage disposal and improving garbage utilization. rate.
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