Gov’t bans import of polymer waste

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Turkey on May 18 banned the import of polymer waste such as plastic bags and styrofoam cups.

A notice from the Trade Ministry published in the government’s Official Gazette removed polymers from the waste products that can be imported into Turkey.

A report published by Greenpeace this month said Turkey has turned into the main recipient of British waste after China banned the import of many types of plastic in 2017.

“EU member states exported 20 times more plastic waste to Turkey in 2020 than they did in 2016, with the volume increasing from 22,000 tons to 447,000 tons,” the Greenpeace report said.

Eurostat data showed Turkey receiving nearly a quarter of the plastic waste exported by EU nations in 2019.

The Trade Ministry’s notice gives companies 45 days to complete customs procedures for waste that was already in transit but had not yet reached Turkey.

The notice gave no other details but is effective from the day it was published.

Polymers are the synthetic building blocks of the material used to make everything, from plastic bags to food wraps and many bottles.

They are also used in non-stick surfaces such as Teflon.

Turkey’s decision has the potential to radically reshape the global recycling market.

Richer nations scramble for places to dump their trash after China shut its doors to most imports.

“Turkey has never imported waste. As a matter of fact, we banned mixed plastic waste import completely at the beginning of 2021,” said Turkey’s Environment and Urban Planning Minister Murat Kurum.

Speaking at a press conference held in Ankara, Kurum said that with the new regulations, inspections and controls of the wastes at the customs will take place timely.

Hurriyet Daily News

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