Table 1 Cumulative plastic waste export and import by country (1988–2016) (912).

MMT, million MT. SAR, Special Adminitrative Region.

Exporters (top 10)
Rank*ReporterEconomic classificationRegion*Cumulative trade value
(billion USD)
Cumulative net weight
(MMT)§
% of global exports
1||China, Hong Kong SARHICEAP16.756.126.1
2United StatesHICNA (OECD)12.326.712.4
3JapanHICEAP (OECD)9.6422.210.3
4GermanyHICECA (OECD)6.9517.68.22
5MexicoUMILAC (OECD)4.5510.54.90
6UKHICECA (OECD)3.329.264.31
7NetherlandsHICECA (OECD)3.197.713.59
8FranceHICECA (OECD)3.497.553.52
9BelgiumHICECA (OECD)2.556.412.99
10CanadaHICNA (OECD)1.933.891.81
Total64.716878
Importers (top 10)
RankCountryEconomic classification Region*Cumulative trade value
(billion USD)
Cumulative net weight
(MMT)§
% of global imports
1ChinaUMIEAP57.610645.1
2China, Hong Kong SARHICEAP23.364.527.3
3United StatesHICNA (OECD)5.188.493.60
4NetherlandsHICECA (OECD)2.406.432.72
5GermanyHICECA (OECD)2.305.362.27
6BelgiumHICECA (OECD)1.814.151.76
7CanadaHICNA (OECD)1.763.831.62
8ItalyHICECA (OECD)1.843.321.41
9IndiaLMISA1.203.101.31
10Other Asia, nes#UnspecifiedUnspecified0.972.381.01
Total98.320888

*EAP, East Asia and Pacific; ECA, Europe and Central Asia; NA, North America; LAC, Latin American and the Caribbean; SA, South Asia; OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation.

†HIC, high-income country; UMI, upper middle income; LMI, lower middle income; LI, low income; based on 2015 gross national income.

‡Cumulative trade value is the sum of reported values based on annual reports by each country for each trade flow from 1988 to 2016 (UN Comtrade Data).

§Cumulative net weight is the sum of reported values based on annual reports by each country for each trade flow of four categories: waste PE, waste PVC, waste PS, and waste other plastics from 1988 to 2016 (UN Comtrade Data).

||If considered collectively, then EU-28 countries would rank first on the list of cumulative exports, accounting for 31% of exports.

¶If considered collectively, then the EU-28 would rank third on the list of cumulative imports, accounting for 8.0% of imports

#Other Asia, not elsewhere specified (nes) is 1 of 16 UN areas nes. These areas are used (i) for low value trade or (ii) if the partner designation was unknown to the country or if an error was made in the partner assignment. The reporting country does not send details of the trading partner in these cases, sometimes to protect company information (28).