Irish researchers find EU plastic destined for recycling ends up in oceans

July 6, 2020 |

In Ireland, new research from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick has for the first time quantified the volume of plastic from European countries (EU, UK, Switzerland and Norway) that contributes to ocean littering from exported recycling. While European countries have developed world-leading waste management infrastructure, 46% of European separated plastic waste is exported outside the country of origin. A large share of this plastic is transported thousands of kilometers to countries with poor waste management practices, largely located in Southeast Asia. Once in these countries, a large share of the waste is rejected from recycling streams into overstretched local waste management systems that have been found to contribute significantly to ocean littering.

The study was part of the Science Foundation Ireland funded, “Innovative Energy Technologies for Bioenergy, Biofuels and a Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy: IETSBIO3′ led by the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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Category: Research

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