Whether consumed in Paris, London or Rome, a plastic bottle is likely to end its existence in Turkey. While Asian countries like China refuse to be dumpsters for Western countries, Turkey imports a lot of plastic. Environmentalists denounced in situ the proliferation of unauthorized landfills, as well as the fires in the recycling plants.

With Anne Andlauer, RFI Istanbul Correspondent

Turkey imports this waste to recycle it and thus create useful raw materials for its economy. It is a lucrative business. According to the Turkish Waste Pickers Association (Gekader), in 2020 Turkey would have imported $128 million worth of plastic waste and exported the equivalent of $1.2 billion worth of recycled plastic products. What has changed since the beginning of 2018 is that the big Asian importers, starting with China, have stopped buying the majority of recyclable waste.

43,000 tons of waste imported per month

Thus, European countries have turned to Turkey, which has increased the volume of its imports. And the figures are impressive. Last year, Turkey imported some 43,000 tons of waste per month, compared to just 4,000 tons before 2018. The country has become the largest importer of European plastic waste. This waste is added to the between 4 and 6 million tons generated each year by 84 million Turks.

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