Anhui Guowang Eco Technology CO., Ltd.
Anhui Guowang Eco Technology CO., Ltd.

In 2021, The per Capita Plastic Packaging Waste Generation in the European Union Was 35.9 Kilograms, With a Plastic Packaging Recycling Rate of 41.1%


According to data released by Eurostat, the average per capita packaging waste generated by each resident in the European Union in 2021 was 188.7 kilograms, an increase of 10.8 kilograms compared to 2020. This marks the largest increase in nearly a decade, with an increase of almost 32 kilograms compared to 2011. In 2021, the European Union generated a total of 84 million tonnes of packaging waste, with 40.3% being paper and cardboard, 19.0% plastic, 18.5% glass, 17.1% wood, and 4.9% metal.

In 2021, each resident in the European Union generated 35.9 kilograms of plastic packaging waste, of which 14.2 kilograms were recycled. Compared to 2020, this represents an increase of 1.4 kilograms per person per year, a growth rate of 4.0%, and an increase of 1.2 kilograms per person per year in recycling, a growth rate of 9.5%. Compared to 2011, per capita plastic packaging waste increased by 26.7% (an increase of 7.6 kilograms per person), and recycling increased by 38.1% (an increase of 3.9 kilograms per person).

Thanks to new rules implemented in 2020, the plastic packaging recycling rate increased from 37.6% in 2020 to 41.1% in 2021. In 2021, the plastic packaging recycling rate increased by 39.7%. Slovenia, Belgium, and the Netherlands (the top three countries in the graph based on 2020 data) recycled half or nearly half of their plastic packaging waste, followed by Germany and Italy. In contrast, less than 25% of plastic packaging waste was recycled in Malta, France, and Sweden.


In 2022, the European Union's plastic waste exports amounted to 1.038 million tonnes, a decrease from 1.135 million tonnes in 2021. In 2022, the top destinations for the EU's plastic waste exports by volume were Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, it was noted that the calculation of the EU's packaging recycling rate no longer includes energy recovery (burning portion). However, I do not have information on the specific proportion of the exported plastic waste that contributes to the overall plastic packaging recycling rate.