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Eurostat: Turkey is the country that imports the most waste from the EU

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According to the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) 2021 waste export information, Turkey became the country that imported the most waste from the European Union with 14.7 million tons. So why is scrap metal export in the EU?

More than half of all waste imports from the EU were made to Turkey. According to the information, Turkey imports the most scrap metal from Europe.

Waste exports from Europe to Turkey have tripled in the last 20 years.


In 2021, the EU’s 19.5 million tons of scrap metal exports were 59 percent of all waste exports. About two-thirds of all scrap metal exported from the EU, 13.1 million tons, was sent to Turkey. Almost all of the rest, that is, about 5.5 million tons, went to England.

The numbers show that there is an increase in Turkey’s metal waste imports. Turkey bought approximately 12 million of the annual 17.5 million tons of scrap metal exported from EU countries in 2020.


Waste exports from the EU to countries outside the union have increased by 77 percent since 2004, reaching 33 million tons. Waste imports from non-EU countries increased by 11 percent in the same period, reaching 19.7 million tons.

Turkey was also the EU’s largest waste buyer in 2020. 13.7 million tons of waste exports, which amounted to 32.7 million tons annually in 2020, were sent to Turkey.

According to the Iron and Steel Branch Report published by the Ministry of Industry and Technology in 2021, the sector imports approximately 60 percent of the iron ore it uses as raw material, 70 percent of the scrap and 90 percent of the coking coal in 2020.

This situation causes the department to have a foreign trade deficit. The largest foreign trade deficit in the sector is caused by steel scrap imports with $6.3 billion.

The report states that Turkey imported a total of 22.5 million tons of scrap metal (iron and steel) in 2020.


The Brussels-based European Steel Association (EUROFER) criticizes the EU’s export of scrap metals to “third countries with lower environmental, climate, labor and social standards”.

The association published a proposal to address this problem in November 2021, again addressing waste shipment regulations.

EUROFER says that this offer is not enough to ensure that the high standards that the EU applies in its own waste management in the countries to which it exports waste.

“The necessity for waste exporters to control is the most innovative part of the proposal. But the success of this depends on how the controls are carried out. Therefore, an effective and credible procedure is needed to ensure credibility and transparency,” the statement says .

EUROFER also emphasizes that Turkey is the biggest buyer of scrap metal exported from Europe in 2021.

“Why are some countries given undeserved privileges just because they are OECD members?” said Axel Eggert, Director of the Association. he asks.

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