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Survey: Chinese consumers worried about plastic waste

April 5, 2018

83 percent of Chinese consumers are worried about the environment because of plastic waste. At the same time, 63 percent are convinced that avoiding waste is a task that concerns every consumer. However, just under one in three citizens is convinced that too much waste is produced in their own household. These are results of the “IFAT Environment Index 2018” of the world's leading trade fair for environmental technologies IFAT in Munich. On behalf of IFAT, 5,000 citizens in five countries were surveyed by a market research institute—including 1,001 people in China.

The Chinese government banned imports of plastic waste and 23 other recycled materials from abroad as of January 1 this year. Unlike paper and glass, plastic waste is not separated into individual material groups—the recycled material is of little value. The EU alone exported more than 80 percent of its plastic waste to China. The Chinese government has now set the goal of establishing a modern recycling economy and cannot make good use of imported plastic waste for this purpose.

“As the IFAT Environment Index shows, 85 percent of Chinese consumers are in favour of the government's goal of fully recycling waste in a closed-loop economy in future,” says Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München. “83 percent of those surveyed also expressed great confidence in modern environmental technology, which makes waste recyclable so that it becomes a valuable raw material.” Not even one in three Chinese consumers rate the environmental technology of their country as a successful industry today. In Germany and France by comparison, one in two consumers think their countries` environmental technology already is a successful industry today. 86 percent of Chinese consumers favour global cooperation when it comes to research and development of environmental technology. "The IFAT study is further proof that challenges in the field of sustainability and resource protection do not stop at national borders. They always have a global impact. That is why we also need solutions that are designed and implemented globally”, says Peter Kurth, President of the Federal Association of the German Waste, Water and Raw Materials Management Industry (BDE) in Berlin. “German and Chinese waste management companies have been successfully engaged in the expansion of the environmental service branch for years and present their competences, products and services at IE expo China in Shanghai in May and IFAT in Munich, also in May.”