The 5 Worst Countries For Plastic Recycling

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Plastic waste pollution is a global problem, and the cold hard fact of the matter is that all countries need to adopt better long-term strategies in the war against plastic waste. Nevertheless, some countries are a long way behind others.

Below we have explored the 5 worst countries for recycling

#1. Chile

Chile is the number one worst country for recycling, with less than 1% of their total usage being recycled in 2015. Between 2013 and 2017, less than 0.8% of total household waste was separately collected for recycling.

Under Chile’s circular economy strategy, the country hopes to achieve a circular economy through recycling, reduction, and reutilisation of solid waste by 2040. 

#2. Mexico

Although Mexico has a high waste collection rate of 91%, most of this waste is improperly disposed. Mexico also has one of the lowest recycling rates in the world at 5%.

In terms of plastic, a huge 123 tonnes of plastic waste is also produced every day in Mexico City, and only 6% of it is recycled.

#3. Turkey

According to OECD (2019), Turkey recycled just 1% of its domestic waste. In 2021 however, Turkey’s recycling rate was 12%.

In recent years, the government has been under growing pressure to “prevent the import of high amounts of waste,” whilst they have been labelled as Europes Dumping Ground.

#4. Greece

Given the economic problems that Greece has faced over the last decade or two, it’s understandable that their recycling habits haven’t reached the desired level.

The country relies heavily on landfilling; although its share has decreased modestly by 6% points from 2015, it was still 77.7 % in 2019. At the same time, the overall recycling rate has increased slightly to 21%, according to a 2022 publication from the European Environment Agency,

#5. Israel

Israel sends 81% of its plastic waste to landfill and just 19% to recycling centres. And like Greece, Israel has had other political priorities to focus on in recent times. 

The Environmental Protection Ministry hopes to commit almost $1.1 billion over the next decade to improve the country’s recycling rate from 21% to 50% by 2030.

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