Turkey aiming for zero imports of waste materials

Murat Kurum
Turkish Environment Minister Murat Kurum

Turkey’s Government has said that it wants to see zero imports of waste materials with its domestic sector providing all it requires.

In a press conference, Minister of Environment and Urbanisation Murat Kurum said that he wanted the country’s recycling rate to rise to 35% by 2023 and 60% by 2035. It is currently 19%.


Recent bans on imports of plastics and quota reductions are part of the country’s ongoing Zero Waste Project he revealed.

He added: “Our goal is a national industry and a clean Turkey that has completed importing waste from all over the world and meets 100% of its raw material needs from the domestic market.

“In this sense, our Zero Waste Project is very important. We carry out each of our projects under the roof of this project. I hope that with the steps we will take, we will increase our recycling rates and meet the raw material needs in our country in a completely local way…

“…Turkey has never imported garbage. As a matter of fact, we completely banned the import of mixed plastic at the beginning of 2021. With the regulations we made, we made it obligatory to issue an identity document for imported recyclable raw materials.

“We do not introduce any recyclable waste that does not have an identity document for the quality and clean raw materials required by our country’s industry.”

The Minister added that 152 facilities had been inspected and the activities of 29 enterprises were stopped. Fines worth 8 million lira (£673,400) were issued on 32 businesses and criminal proceedings were filed against those causing environmental pollution.

He also revealed that any companies breaching the import quota or importing illegal waste will have their will have their import permits cancelled.

Turkey is also working on a new Climate Law that will be introduced by 2023 and may include further restrictive measures with the goal of zero imports of waste materials.

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