The place does EU waste find yourself?

In 2020, exports of waste from the European Union to non-EU countries reached 32.7 million tons. According to Eurostat data, this is an increase of three quarters, or 75 percent since 2004.

On the other hand, the import of waste from non-EU countries has decreased by 10% since 2004, and in 2020 it amounted to 16 million tons.

Turkey – the main destination

Turkey is a major waste destination exported from the EU, with a volume of 13.7m tonnes exported last year, more than three times more than in 2004.

The second destination is India, which “received” almost 2.9 million tons of waste from the EU during 2020. It is followed by the United Kingdom with 1.8 million tons, Switzerland with 1.6 million tons, Norway with 1.5 million tons, Indonesia and Pakistan – both countries with 1.4 million tons.

In recent years, Pakistan has grown as a destination for waste from the EU, with the volume increasing from 0.1 million tons in 2004 to 1.4 million in 2020.

What is a sharp contrast to that is that the export of waste from the EU to China has dropped since 2009, when it amounted to 10.1 million tons, to 0.6 million in 2020.

In 2020, exports of steel and iron waste from the EU amounted to 17.4 million tons, which accounted for 53 percent of total waste exports. The main destination was Turkey with 11.8 million tons. This country received more than two thirds (68 percent) of iron waste from the EU.

On the other hand, the EU imported 4.1 million tons of iron waste, of which almost a third came from the United Kingdom.

Although at a much lower level, a “solid” amount of paper waste was also exported from the EU – 6.1 million tons, which accounted for almost a fifth (19 percent) of total EU waste exports last year. 1.6 million tons of that waste went to India, 1.2 million to Indonesia and 0.9 million tons to Turkey.

In addition to iron and paper waste, the European Union mostly exports plastic waste (including rubber), copper, aluminum and nickel, textile waste, wood waste, animal and plant waste, municipal waste, glass waste, precious metals and other waste.

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