The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning has announced that it is limiting the country’s paper and plastic scrap imports to a maximum of 50 percent of the production capacity of consuming facilities, requiring them to fulfill the rest of their infeed from domestic collections, according to a report from Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR). BIR says it received this information from TÜDAM, a Turkish-based recycling association that is a member federation of the BIR.
Turkey’s quota had been at 80 percent for paper and plastics recycling imports since December 2019 as agreed by the recycling industry and Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning. BIR reports that these Turkish paper, board, and plastics producers will now have to revise their plans according to this import reduction.
In the coming years, this import quota will be reevaluated by considering the domestic scrap collection rate, BIR reports.
This change comes as new papermaking capacity is being constructed in Turkey in the form of additional paper machines to make containerboard. Ercan Yürekli of Istanbul-based recycling and trading firm Yürekli Kağıt has said the new capacity as “recycling-based,” meaning Turkey’s ability to absorb scrap paper is poised to increase in the next three years.
Turkey imported more than 225,000 metric tons of plastic scrap in 2018, according to data compiled by UN Comtrade. That figure appears to have grown substantially in the last year. Greenpeace has cited Eurostat figures that show that Turkey was the No. 1 country in terms of importing plastic scrap from Europe and that more than 580,000 tons of the 14 million tons of scrap imported from EU countries in 2019 were plastic.