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Pilot study on worldwide plastic flows

With the Global Plastics Flow study, data on the circular economy are available for the first time in 44 countries.

Six associations and organizations, including the BKV, presented a new pilot study based on extensive regional surveys on data on worldwide plastic flows, including the handling of post-consumer waste, as part of the world's leading trade fair K 2019. The Global Plastics Flow Study is the first study to "document data and facts on recycling management in 44 countries worldwide in a uniform and comprehensive manner and clearly identify the weak points in waste collection and recycling," emphasizes Dr. Jürgen Bruder, Managing Director of the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen and project manager of the study. The results thus represent a unique contribution to the fight against the littering of waste into the environment.

For the pilot study, information on plastics from production to waste treatment was collected in 44 countries, representing around 60 percent of the world's population and around 80 percent of GDP. According to the central results, in 2018 360 million tonnes of plastics were produced worldwide from virgin materials and an additional 30 million tonnes of recycled plastics, so that a total of 390 million tonnes were processed. Post-consumer waste worldwide amounted to around 250 million tonnes, of which 173 million tonnes were collected. This leaves 63 million tonnes that have been improperly disposed of - for example in wild landfills - and 14 million tonnes that have been carelessly dumped in the environment.

"The quantities of waste that end up in the environment are dramatic and must be a wake-up call for the entire value chain," says Bruder. Waste management in all its variants must be the common goal of business and politics. With the study results the Hot Spots with increased action need for the reduction of disorderly waste treatments are now clearly recognizable, so brother further.

With the study, the participating associations and organizations want to stimulate the worldwide discussion on measures against waste discharges into the environment. Within the framework of the Global Information Project of the "Alliance to End Plastic Waste", an open source database, the study makes an important contribution to prioritising investments in waste management, according to the participating associations and organizations. At the same time, it should be the starting point for further studies. Further actors shall also be involved in the future in order to expand and verify the initial data available.
The study was carried out by Conversio Market & Strategy GmbH in close cooperation with associations of the Global Plastics Alliance and numerous other institutions. Its originators and partners are BKV GmbH, EUROMAP Europe's Association for plastics and rubber machinery, GKV Gesamtverband Kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie e.V., GPA Global Plastics Alliance, IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V., K-Messe and VDMA.

More information: Management summary of the GPF study (free download)