Turkey was biggest destination for EU waste in 2020

EU waste exports
EU waste export data from Eurostat

Turkey was the main destination for EU waste exports in 2020, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

In total, 13.7 million tonnes of secondary materials were sent there last year, which is more than three times as much as in 2004.


The second largest destination was India, which received almost 2.9 million tonnes of EU waste, followed by the UK with 1.8 million tonnes.

Switzerland (1.6 million tonnes), Norway (1.5 million tonnes), Indonesia and Pakistan (both 1.4 million tonnes) were next.

However, Eurostat also noted that EU exports of waste materials to China fell from a peak of 10.1 million tonnes in 2009 to just 0.6 million tonnes in 2020 following the ban imposed by the Chinese Government.

While ferrous metals represented the largest amount of material exported by the EU representing almost half of all exports, waste paper was next.

The 6.1 million tonnes of paper exported amounted to 19% of the EU’s exports in 2020.

India was the most popular destination for EU paper and cardboard exports taking 1.6 million tonnes, followed by Indonesia (1.2 million tonnes) and 0.9 million tonnes to Turkey.

However, 2.2 million tonnes of paper and cardboard was imported into the EU with the UK the largest exported to the EU with 0.9 million tonnes.

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