Turkey’s plastic waste imports from the UK are booming – but at what cost?
Following restrictions on imports of UK plastic waste imposed by Malaysia and Vietnam and now being considered in Poland, the rise in the tonnage of containers landing on Turkish shores is causing growing concern.
According to data submitted by UK exporters to the Environment Agency (EA) and seen by the Guardian, in the first three months of 2018 the UK shipped 27,034 tonnes of waste plastic to Turkey, compared with 12,022 tonnes in the same period last year.
Although it is illegal for UK companies to export waste for disposal abroad other than for recycling or recovery, a glance at Turkey’s record on recycling does not reassure environmental observers. According to OECD data from 2015, Turkey recycles just 1% of its domestic waste, sending the rest to landfill.
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(Photo credit: Sertac Kayar/Reuters)