The recycling myth: What actually happens to our plastic

May 17, 2023 | Environmental, Videos

Recycling is essential in the fight against plastic pollution, but even a country like Germany which has long been a proponent of recycling practices isn’t getting it right. To uncover what’s going wrong with the German recycling industry and what can be done to fix it, our reporter Kai Steinecke is embarking on a mission to follow the plastic stream deep into its heart.

With an estimated 300 million tons of plastic produced every year, and only 9% of that being recycled, the world is facing an urgent and devastating plastic crisis. Scientists have warned us about the consequences of plastic pollution for years now: the impact on marine life and ecosystems, climate change, human health issues just to name a few. It’s clear that drastic action must be taken to protect our planet from further damage. And this is where German recycling initiatives come in – touted as some of the best in Europe, they are seen as models for other countries looking to develop their own programs.

But there is still much work to do when it comes to recycling – Germany’s success rate remains far too low with only around 37% of all plastic waste being recycled correctly or reused. To better understand what’s going wrong here, Kai Steinecke follows along on his journey into the heart

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