Turkey changes plastic import quota requirements and introduces chip-tracking system

PAGEV president Yavez Eroglu
PAGEV president Yavez Eroğlu

Turkey will introduce a new plastic import quota measurement system to ensure only those companies that have invested in extrusion technology can import.

PE-based recycled polymers exported to Turkey will also need to be tracked using a chip from the port to the factory.


This has been revealed by the Turkish Plastics Industry Foundation (PAGEV) that helped to negotiate a compromise that led to the reversal of the ban on importing certain plastics.

PAGEV has revealed that the import licenses belonging to 1,350 companies that previously imported recycled plastics will be reviewed thoroughly by Turkish authorities before they are permitted to import again.

They will then need to provide a letter of credit to show they can cover any costs incurred by the authorities from the imported material.

Under the new regulations, PAGEV has said that the previous 50% plastic import quota based on the crushing capacity of a facility will be changed to it being based on the heat treatment (extrusion) capacity. This means only those companies that have made the investment in the necessary equipment and machinery will be able to import.

Import companies will also need to use the Mobile Waste Tracking System (MoTAT) which is currently used by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation to track hazardous waste. Imported 391510 plastics will be tracked from port to factory.

All of these regulations are designed to ensure that only recycling facilities can import, preventing the operation of plastic trading companies.

PAGEV president Yavuz Eroğlu said: “We have been working with the relevant Ministries on various control mechanisms for more than a month, in consultation with the TOBB Waste and Recycling Assembly, the Chamber and our NGOs.

“At this point, the directive containing the new regulations on the import of polyethylene waste was finalised and the ban was lifted.

“The new regulation, which aims to reduce abuse by enforcing active control, has been a positive step for the sector. With the enactment of the legislation, the number of companies importing waste will decrease from the current 1350, depending on the criteria.

“The aim is to introduce further regulation to the recycling sector. Paper, iron-steel waste is also imported to Turkey, but there is no problem there because the number of companies is controlled and the licenses are balanced.

“License rehabilitation to be carried out in the plastic recycling sector is important. The letter of credit obligation will ensure that companies that can do their job properly and have the capacity and equipment will continue on their way.”

He added that the estimated cost of the plastic import ban has been $547 million (£395 million) over a 45-day period for Turkish companies, as they were forced to buy more expensive virgin plastic rather than recycled polymers.

Eroğlu added that the new measures would ensure Turkey was part of a global circular economy.

He said: “Wastes that are a part of circular economy have become valuable raw materials all over the world.

“As in the paper and metal industry, Turkey should be importing plastic waste without any problems. It is of course very important that Turkey will implement new regulations with effective inspection mechanisms in line with the EU’s waste import processes.

“With the new regulation, Turkey will both provide the recycling raw material needed by the industry with plastic waste imports, and will also eliminate environmental risks with active control.”

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