Turkey is overtaking the Far East as a key destination for recyclable materials, according to Türkiye Recycling Association chair Fatih Eren.
Speaking to the news service Anadolu Agency, he said that the next five years will bring huge opportunities for the country.
He added: “With its geographical location, our country is a logistics country, not only for recycling, but also in many other sectors.”
On plastics, he noted that the Turkish recycling sector is growing rapidly, but it needs more raw material from domestic sources or will need to increase imports.
“If the recycling sector cannot provide this 30% [increase], an additional 30% of imports will be needed. So, the recycling sector must continue to work quickly and strongly.”
However, he noted that the Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change is working quickly to prevent an increase in plastic imports by developing better collection, sorting and reprocessing of domestic material.
He also revealed that plastic waste imports in 2020 were worth $127.7 million (£105.5 million), but exports of products containing recycled plastics were worth $1.21 billion (£1 billion) to the country.
Overall, he expected the Turkish recycling sector to be worth $3.2 billion (£2.64 billion) by 2025 and $63 billion (£52 billion) by 2050.
He also said that in 2021 Turkey imported 14.7 million tonnes of recyclable materials. Of this, 12.7 million tonnes was metal, 1.2 million tonnes was paper, 685,000 tonnes of plastic and 55,000 tonnes of glass.