European plastic waste poisons communities in Vietnam
Plastic waste
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Utrecht University shows the dark side of the international plastic waste trade

( – Are we in Europe that good at recycling plastic? The answer is not what we want to hear. In fact, about half Plastic waste Produced in Europe are exported. Among the main destinations – after the Chinese stop in 2018 – is Vietnam.

Out of sight, out of mind then? not exactly. At least that's not the approach taken by a research team from Utrecht University, which collaborated with Vietnamese colleagues to investigate the European plastic recycling process in Minh Khai Kraft Village, the largest recycling center in Vietnam.

Things are not going well at all, as it turns out Investigate them. Waste is not being recycled properly, but it has become a serious problem for local communities. Here people live and work surrounded by… Toxic fumes resulting from melting plastic.

Research has found that 7 million liters of toxic wastewater It is discharged into the village's waterways every day, resulting in serious environmental impacts. This work shows the contradiction between European policies, which focus on increasing recycling rates, and the reality of recycling Polymer processing centers in the global south.

The researchers express concern about what can be defined as a real passing of the buck by plastic manufacturers and traders in the villages. Local communities here have to bear the brunt of environmental pollution and health consequences. The study's conclusions are unequivocal: Focusing solely on increasing recycling rates is neither ethical, circular, nor sustainable.
This is not to discredit the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, or the UN negotiations on a global plastics treaty. But the sector cannot be organized without one time Regulating waste trade.

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