The Turkish Government has reversed its ban on 391510 recycled plastic imports.
In its Official Gazette, Turkey announced that it has repealed the listing of HS code 3915.10.00.00.00 from its regulations from May that prohibited entry of these plastics.
The permission to import 3915010 PE-based plastics is immediate.
However, imports of Turkish-specific HS code 39126.96.36.199.00 and 3915.90.80.00.19 remain banned.
With Turkey a member of the OECD, this should mean that UK exports of this plastic grade should be able to resume immediately.
Exports to non-OECD countries, especially Malaysia, are expected to begin again from the end of this month.
When Turkey banned import of most plastics in May, it came as a huge surprise to the recycling industry, and caused a great deal of difficulty for recyclers both in Turkey and those abroad that relied on this crucial market.
At that time, Turkey’s Ministry of Environment was driving the legislation that banned these imports even though it was the Ministry of Trade that executed the legislation. But it seems that Turkey’s Ministry of Trade has had a change of mind and has reversed the ban on 391510 recycled plastic imports.
This suggests that attempts by the Turkish plastics recyclers to show the economic damage being caused by banning these imports has won out over the environmental considerations.
Images of dumped plastics on roadsides are harmful to the recycling cause, and those in Turkey need to take responsibility to ensure any contamination is disposed of properly and sustainably. Equally, those exporting to Turkey need to ensure the material is as clean as possible, or risk losing this market again.
UK plastics recyclers will be pleased that this market has re-opened, but there is a very strong risk that Turkey will close again, especially as it develops and improves its own waste collection infrastructure.