Greenpeace: UK Plastics Being Burned and Dumped in Turkey

Greenpeace investigations released on Monday revealed that southern Turkey is becoming the UK and Germany’s latest plastic waste dumping destination.

Greenpeace reported that 40% of the UK’s plastic waste exports amounting to 210,000 tonnes were being dumped in Turkey last year.

The UK is exporting 688,000 tonnes of discarded plastic packaging in 2020 equivalent to an average of 1.8m kilos daily. The UK generates more plastic waste per person than any other country apart from the US.

The British government said that plastic waste exports being sent overseas are being recycled.

Greenpeace investigators in Turkey discovered that plastic wastes are being dumped, piled, and burned instead of being recycled. Some garbage has already found their ways into rivers and seas.

Greenpeace Germany also reported on plastic wastes coming from Germany to Turkey from major German supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi, EDEKA, and REWE.

“As this new evidence shows, plastic waste coming from Europe to Turkey is an environmental threat, not an economic opportunity. Uncontrolled imports of plastic waste do nothing but increase the problems existing in Turkey’s own recycling system,” said Nihan Temiz Atas, Biodiversity Projects Lead from Greenpeace Mediterranean.

The Turkish government has already announced a ban on imports of many types of plastic waste from January but trade data suggest that the initiative has been of little impact.

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