Where the EU exports its waste

Where the EU exports its waste

Anna Fleck

Türkiye was the largest destination for waste exported from the EU in 2022. With a volume of 12.4 million tonnes, it accounted for 39% of the total exports of waste. The second largest destination was India, which received 3.5 million tonnes of waste from the EU in 2022, followed by the United Kingdom (2.0 million tonnes), Switzerland (1.6 million), Norway (1.6 million), Egypt (1.6 million), Pakistan (1.2 million), Indonesia (1.1 million), Morocco and the United States (both 0.8 million).

Charts: STATISTA and Eurostat

The European Union exported 32.1 million tonnes of waste to non-EU countries in 2022, according to Eurostat. This is a slight decline from the 33.0 million tonnes of waste exports to these countries in 2021. Turkey was the primary destination country for EU waste that year with some 12.4 million tonnes sent there, accounting to 39 percent of the total exports of waste.

India received the second highest quantity of EU waste that year, receiving some 3.5 million tonnes in total. It was followed by the United Kingdom and Switzerland, with 2.0 and 1.6 million tonnes, respectively.

The EU agreed a deal in November that it would stop sending plastic waste to non-OECD countries from mid-2026. These rules are yet to be approved by the European Council and parliament. Critics argue this could lead to a rise in waste shipped to countries which are within the group such as Turkey, as reported by The Guardian.

In 2022, the EU exported 17.8 million tonnes of ferrous metals waste (iron and steel), accounting for 55% of all waste exports from the EU. The main destination was Türkiye which received 10.7 million tonnes, almost two thirds (60%) of all ferrous metal waste exported from the EU.

Considerable amounts of paper waste were also exported, amounting to 4.9 million tonnes or 15% of the EU’s waste exports in 2022. The main destination was India (30% of total paper waste exports).

On the import side, the EU received 4.2 million tonnes of ferrous metals (22% of all waste imports) and 2.4 million tonnes of paper (13% of all waste imports). The largest amounts of those waste were coming from the United Kingdom - 1.3 tonnes or 33% of total ferrous metals waste and 1.2 tonnes or 49% of total paper waste imports.

Source: https://www.statista.com