Where does waste from EU end up?
In 2020, the EU member states exported 32.7 million tons of waste to non-EU countries.Source: B92
According to data available from Eurostat, this represents an increase of 75 percent since 2004. On the other hand, 10% less waste was imported from non-EU countries since 2004, with a total of 16 million tons in 2020.
Turkey - the main destination
Major destination for waste exported from the EU is Turkey, with a volume of 13.7m tonnes exported last year, three times more than in 2004.
The second destination is India, which "received" almost 2.9 million tons of waste from the EU during 2020.
The next destination is the United Kingdom with 1.8 million tons, Switzerland with 1.6 million tons, Norway with 1.5 million tons, Indonesia and Pakistan - both countries with 1.4 million tons.
In recent years, Pakistan has become an attractive destination for waste from the EU, with the volume increasing from 0.1 million tons in 2004 to 1.4 million in 2020.
On the other hand, the export of waste from the EU to China has dropped since 2009, when it amounted to 10.1 million tons, to 0.6 million in 2020.
Steel and iron waste accounted for more than half of total EU waste exports
In 2020, steel and iron waste exported from the EU amounted to 17.4 million tons, which accounted for 53 percent of total waste exports.
The main destination was Turkey with 11.8 million tons. Turkey received more than two-thirds (68 percent) of iron waste from the EU.
On the other hand, the EU imported 4.1 million tons of iron waste, a third of it came from the United Kingdom.
A "solid" but still much lower amount of paper waste was also exported from the EU - 6.1 million tons, which accounted for almost a fifth (19 percent) of total EU waste exports last year.
India received 1.6 million tons of paper waste, 1.2 million to Indonesia, and 0.9 million tons to Turkey.
However, the EU imported 2.2 million tons last year, of which the largest amount, about 0.9 million tons, came from the United Kingdom.
In addition to iron and paper waste, the European Union mostly exports plastic waste (including rubber), copper, aluminum and nickel, textile waste, wood waste, animal and plant waste, municipal waste, glass waste, precious metals, and other waste.
The EU, in addition to iron and paper waste, imports mostly wood waste, waste classified as "other", copper, aluminum and nickel, municipal waste, animal and vegetable waste, plastic waste (including rubber), glass waste, textile waste, precious metals.