how is plastic recycled
From the plastic straw debate to new plastic packages taxes to the recent ban on plastic in China, there has been a lot of buzz lately in the U.S. on how to deal with recycling plastic.

But how do other countries address their plastic recycling problems? Currently, approximately 91% of plastic around the globe isn’t recycled, but many countries have tried to do their part to combat this devastating figure.

Keep on reading to learn more about how plastic is recycled in other countries around the world including insights on laws and regulations, advanced recycling machinery, reward programs and more.


Sweden is on top of their recycling game, and are presently undergoing a “recycling revolution.” They currently recycle nearly 100% of household waste in hopes to reach a zero-waste lifestyle.

With ambitious goals like this, they could teach other countries a lesson or two on how to recycle plastic, since all residents separate their plastic containers to promote the country’s recycling efforts.

Some notable events in the history of recycling in Sweden (via Avfall Sverige) include:

  • 1904 – The first incineration plant is created. There are now 32 plants currently operating
  • 1985 – Heavy metal emissions begin to be reduced, with current measurements showing they have been reduced by 99%
  • 2015 – Sweden receives 2.3 million tons of waste imported from various places including the UK, Ireland, and Norway
  • 2016 – Around 2.3 million tons of household waste, which is about half of all household waste, is turned into energy through burning


Most probably do not know that Germany recycles more than any other country, with a recycling rate of 56.1%.

Some practices, policies, and legislative efforts they have put in place that contributes to their success includes:

  • Widespread separate collection of dry recyclable materials and bio-waste
  • Landfill and incineration bans for certain materials
  • Statutory recycling rate/separate collection targets
  • Extended Producer Responsibility schemes
  • Deposit refund programs for packaging

What really makes them stand out? Germany pays you for recycling bottles.


After implanting the “Zero Waste Plan” in 2010, Scotland became a notable figure in the plastics recycling world. In the program, trash was pre-sorted and residents were provided with collection, waste treatment, and recycling services.

Some notable statistics about their efforts include:

  • They’ve generated 457.2 kg waste per capita
  • 1 kg waste per capita has been recycled
  • Their recycling rate is up 44.2%


Previously, Taiwan used to lack in their recycling efforts, but now with a 55% recycling rate, they have shown significant improvement. How is plastic recycled so effectively in Taiwan? The answer is by having several collection days, unlike America which usually designates one day of the week, giving citizens more opportunities to dispose of waste properly!


Switzerland goes about getting residents to recycle in an interesting way. On top of banning landfills, they enforce a “polluter-pays” method, which means that citizens are charged for each bag of garbage they throw away based on weight. So if they do not recycle, the only way to dispose of waste is to pay.


Back in 2001, Japan introduced a mandatory rule that enforced citizens to recycle appliances. Once the appliance is at its end of life and is ready to be disposed, the resident simply pays a small fee to have it recycled. This way, large appliances and other appliances made of various metals and plastics stay out of landfills and are properly disposed of and reused when possible.

Other Notable Mentions

There are a number of other countries around the world that have increased their efforts in how plastic is recycled. Here are some statistics concerning how much waste is recycled and their recycling rate for the following countries per capita, via MSN:

  • Denmark
    • Waste recycled: 369.7kg
    • Recycling rate: 46.3%
  • Luxembourg
    • Waste recycled: 305.5kg
    • Recycling rate: 48.3%
  • Italy
    • Waste recycled: 260.8kg
    • Recycling rate: 52.6%
  • Belgium
    • Waste recycled: 221.3kg
    • Recycling rate: 53.5%
  • Slovenia
    • Waste recycled: 242.4kg
    • Recycling rate: 53.9%
  • Austria
    • Waste recycled: 322.3kg
    • Recycling rate: 55.9%
  • Netherlands
    • Waste recycled: 317.2kg
    • Recycling rate: 56.6%
  • Singapore
    • Waste recycled: 850.5kg
    • Recycling rate: 61%
  • Wales
    • Waste recycled: 327.2kg
    • Recycling rate: 63.8%

How to Recycle Plastic Safely in the Manufacturing Industry

In 2018, reports estimated that the recycling rate in the U.S. was going to drop to 4.4%, and could even drop to as low as 2.9% in 2019 if additional plastic waste import bans were implemented around the country.

To help combat some of the drop, one way your company can do their part to be more proactive in recycling plastic is by investing in plastic recycling machines to help you process your industrial plastic waste.

Learn More About Shini USA’s Plastic Recycling Machinery

Here at Shini USA, we offer a wide range of recycling machines for your company to utilize to help your operations be more efficient. Our equipment includes:

Read More Articles on How Plastic Is Recycled on Our Blog

Our news section is filled with informational posts about the recycling industry, recycling machinery, and much more. Here are some recent posts you may enjoy:

Work with Shini USA, the Experts in Recycling Machines Today!

Shini USA’s recycling machinery can be utilized in various industries and specialties to help with in-house plastic recycling. Some examples include:

  • Extrusion
  • Thermoforming
  • Blow film

And as plastic processing machine experts, our goal is to give our customers 100% satisfaction with every single unit they purchase, which is why our parts and service team is always here to help.

If you are interested in using Shini USA as your dedicated plastic recycling machine provider, be sure to contact us today.

plastic recycling equipment