New German Environment Minister calls for EU plastic waste export ban

Steffi Lemke

New German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke has said she will press for an EU-wide ban on waste plastic exports.

In an interview with German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, she said that she wanted to see a ban on exports of plastics from the EU because of situations where containers of plastic had been rejected by Turkey, were sent to Greece and she said should be repatriated to Germany.


She added: “I advocate a far-reaching export ban at the EU level. The illegal export of waste must stop.”

However, she also wants to see better enforcement of existing regulations on movement of material between EU nations as well as with German federal states.

She said: “I also want to discuss with the federal states how we can improve the enforcement of the existing rules. I had my first discussions about this before Christmas. We will keep an eye on the containers in Turkey and Greece.”

However, data from the Federal Association of the German Waste Management, Water and Raw Materials Management organisation found that exports of plastic from Germany fell by 32% in 2021 to 697,000 tonnes compared to 2020. This is from a total of 6 million tonnes of plastic waste separately collected in Germany each year.

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