Last year, the European Union exported 32.7 million tons of waste to other parts of the world. That’s an increase of 75 percent over a decade and a half. This is clear from the statistics of the European Statistics Office, Eurostat. In particular, there has been a strong increase in exports to India, but especially to Turkey.
The European Union exported 13.7 million tons of waste to Turkey last year. India is in second place with 2.9 million tonnes, followed by the United Kingdom with about 2 tonnes.
The Eurostat rankings then refer to Switzerland, Norway, Indonesia and Pakistan. The latter country has been increasingly becoming a dumping ground for their waste among EU member states in recent years.
Last year, according to Eurostat, about 1.4 million tonnes of waste was imported into Pakistan from the European Union. One and a half decades ago, that amount was still only 0.1 million tons per year.
On the other hand, exports from European countries to China will continue to decline. Last year it was 0.6 million tonnes. Twelve years ago, the European Union exported 10.1 million tons of waste to China.
However, a few years ago China introduced a new strategy that made it much harder to import waste that is harmful to the environment.
The main waste products exported by the EU are steel products, paper and plastic. Last year, Turkey was the most important destination for iron and steel exports, measuring 11.8 million tonnes. The country absorbed 68 per cent of exports of this type of waste.
Waste imports in the EU fell to 16 million tonnes last year. That’s a 10 percent shrink in fifteen years.
These imports included large quantities of iron (4.1 million tons) and paper (2.2 million tons). Those products came mainly from the UK.