The European Union's Plastic Export

Greenpeace released a report in November 2023 on plastic exports from the EU to Mercosur countries.

The latest EU policies have banned single-use plastic for environmental reasons, but plastic is still being exported in various forms, often single-use, to countries in South America. While there are still tariff barriers on such exports (plastic kitchenware, tableware, and other plastic household items are taxed at 18%, polystyrene at 14%), the EU/Mercosur Agreement, negotiations for which concluded in 2019 but is still awaiting signature, aims to completely remove these barriers. According to the OECD, this could significantly increase plastic exports and the resulting waste, as the recycled rate of plastic waste does not exceed 10% for Latin American countries.

The Example of Brazil

According to the Greenpeace report, 80% of plastic exports from the European Union to Mercosur countries go to Brazil. Brazilian plastic industries produce 6.67 million tons of plastic from virgin polymers yearly, half of which is single-use plastic. Additionally, estimates suggest that 325,000 tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year in Brazil alone.

View the Greenpeace report

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