The European Union exports more waste than it imports, but the unwanted revenue continues to grow – in 2021, the import of waste from outside the European Union increased to 19.7 million tons. In return, we pushed 33 million tons outside the boundaries of society.

In 2021, the volume of EU exports of waste to countries outside the EU amounted to 33 million tons – an increase of 77%. Since 2004, Eurostat reported.

Where do EU citizens dispose of their waste? Mostly in Turkey. This is the main destination for waste exports from the European Union, as Eurostat calls it.

Go to Turkey. Your trash is already there

Almost half of all EU waste exports went to Turkey – a holiday oasis for millions of Europeans. In 2021, we exported nearly 14.7 million tons of garbage to this country.

India comes second in our waste collection list, and Egypt is another – another tourist mecca.

China accepts less and less waste from Europe – EU waste exports to China have fallen from a peak of 10.1 million tons in 2009 to 0.4 million tons in 2021.

Eurostat does not provide data on this, but there is a possibility that at least some of this waste will be recycled. This is because half of the EU’s waste exports are ferrous metal waste. In 2021, it amounted to 19.5 million tons, which is more than half (59%) of all EU exports of waste. The main recipient of this type of waste was Turkey (13.1 million tons).

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In contrast, 13 per cent. That is, 4.4 million tons of waste exported was paper waste. India (1.2 million tons), Indonesia (0.9 million tons) and Turkey (0.4 million tons) were the main recipients last year.

Garbage imports continue

But the highway for garbage trucks works both ways – 19.7 million tons of waste entered the EU last year, an 11 per cent increase since 2004.

Of this, the European Union imported 5.5 million tons of waste ferrous metals, about a third (32%) of which came from Great Britain. Also, 2.4 million tons of waste paper were imported into the European Union, most of it (1 million tons, or 42%) also coming from this country.

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