UK plastic illegally dumped and burned in Turkey

The United Kingdom’s plastic waste is illegally dumped and burned in Turkey, according to a Greenpeace report published on Monday.

British plastic waste is being dumped and burned at illegal rubbish tips all across Turkey’s southern Adana province, according to evidence revealed by the investigations of media and environmental organisations, Greenpeace said.

Over half of the plastic waste that the UK government considers as ‘recycled’ had been sent overseas. Turkey was the UK’s top recipient of plastic waste in 2020 with a 39 percent, Greenpeace said, citing official UK government trade data.

Turkey has become the new “China” of the global waste trade in the last five years, according to Greenpeace.

Turkey received 210,000 tonnes of plastic waste from the UK in 2020, up from 12,000 tonnes in 2016, it said.

“The European Union member states also exported 20 times more plastic waste to Turkey in 2020 than they did in 2016, with the volume increasing from 22,000 tonnes to 447,000 tonnes,” Greenpeace said.

It is illegal to export plastic waste from the UK unless it is designated to be recycled or incinerated in an energy-from-waste plant, Greenpeace said.

Turkey ranked the 14th worst country in the world for mismanagement of plastic waste, Greenpeace said, citing a 2015 study published in Science magazine.