Turkey to restrict imports of recycled materials to half of its domestic needs

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Turkey Environment Minister Murat Kurum
Turkey's Environment Minister Murat Kurum

Turkey’s Environment Minister has announced that the country intends to restrict imports of recycled materials to half of what its recycling sector needs.

In a statement short of detail, including when the country plans to introduce these measures, the Environment and Urban Planning Minister Murat Kurum said that the country wanted to limit the import of waste and would be introducing new regulations.

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He said: “We are implementing the regulation that will make it compulsory to meet half of the annual raw material need of our recycling sector from our domestic market in order to minimise the damage that waste will cause to our nature.”

The statement from the Environment Ministry also said that to prevent pollution, it will be necessary “to separate and evaluate the wastes at their source and to bring them to the economy with domestic sources”. What this will mean in practice wasn’t made clear.

In the last few years, Turkey has become an essential destination for UK cardboard/paper and plastic recyclers.

This year alone, the country has imported 207,332 tonnes of OCC according to HMRC data up to June, with only India (248,324 tonnes) having imported more.

For plastics, Turkey imported 49,311 tonnes of PE-based polymers up to the end of June making it the second most important destination for UK material after the whole of the EU (63,568 tonnes).

Turkey is also a major importer of steel and other metals.

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