What are the Top 5 Countries that Produce the Most Plastic?


The production and use of plastics have been dated back from over 111 years ago; the production of which came as a result of its cheap price and high durability.  Many countries have adopted the production of plastics as a means of trade and global commerce. While many articles about plastics discuss top polluters due to mismanagement of waste, in this article, we will uncover the top 5 countries that produce the most plastic in the world, and what they’re doing about it now.

In the 1950s to the 70s, only small amount of plastic were produced and in this case the management of plastics were easy. In the period of the 1990s, the production of plastics tripled within two decades. Around the 2000s the rate at which plastic were produced increased drastically. Today we experience a sharp inclination in the production of plastic around the world, about 300-381 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. A lot of research has been made showing that 7.8-8.3 billion tonnes of plastic were produced since the early 1950s. Sixty percent of that plastic has ended up in landfills.
The source used to gather statistical research is from the International Trade Centre’s Trade Map, using Plastic as source of export.  Here are of the top 5 countries producing plastic in the world:

Photo Credit: REUTERS/China Photo

1. China

China tops the list of countries producing the most plastic in the world. They produce the largest quantity of plastic at nearly 60 million tones. They exported the highest dollar value worth of plastic items at US$17.9 billion. Despite topping the affairs of the production, they are considerably at the top of those who consume most. Knowing the adverse effect of the usage, China is now sitting up and enabling several strategies to reduce mismanagement of plastic such as recycling and strict regulations in handling plastic.

Photo Credit: DPA

2. Germany

About 14.5 million tonnes of plastic are produced in Germany and their exported dollar value of plastic is worth US$9 billion. The environmental minister Svenja Schulze said Germany has come up with a plan designed to tackling the level of plastic waste in Germany. The plans are a) avoiding unnecessary products and packaging; b) ensuring all products and packaging are more environmentally-friendly; c) increased recycling; d) prevention of plastic to getting into organic waste; e) international effort aimed at reducing plastic waste in oceans.

Photo Credit: Chris Urso | Times

3. USA

The United States of America are ranked the third country producing plastic in the world, they produce quantity of about 38 million tonnes and their exported dollar value of plastic is worth US$6.8 billion. They are responsible for the production of 19.5% of plastic used in the world. The US is has been proactive at regulating the usage of plastic by launching single-use plastic bans throughout major US cities. They also encourage recycling and enforce regulations on its management.

Photo Credit: European Commission for the Environment

4. Italy

Statistics show that Italy exported 4.2% of plastic items, and the dollar value worth of US$3 billion. Italy is joining the rest of the world to take action on this enemy before it destroys our ecosystem. Regulations are made, recycling is promoted and ban on plastic materials.

5. France

Research shows France export 3.7% of plastic items, and the dollar value worth of about US$2.7 billion. France’s government is taking proactive actions to get rid of plastics, their proposed measure includes tax on consumer goods. Recycling measures, ban on single use product, deposit system on plastic materials.
It’s always moving to see that in times of crisis, we as a global community somehow come together to build movements, solutions, regulations, practices and, most importantly, hope. It’s even more miraculous and moving to know that, innately in all of us, we want to protect her, our home, and for the greater good of our future.


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With love and compassion,


Team Karunaki