European Union: Trade in Recyclable Raw Materials

In 2018, exports from the EU member states to non-EU countries amounted to 36.8 million tons.

According to the statistical figures of Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), this volume represented an increase of 69 percent compared with the end of 2004. The value of these exported recyclable materials, which included plastics, paper and metals, was 14.0 billion Euro. Turkey and China were the main destinations for these materials. In 2018, EU exports of recyclables to Turkey stood at around 12.8 million tons (-4 percent compared with 2017). However, EU exports to China decreased by more than half from the peak of 12.4 million tons in 2012 to 5.1 million tons in 2018 (-46 percent compared with 2017). India, which received 4.6 million tons of the EU’s recyclable raw materials last year (+79 percent compared with 2017) was also a significant partner along with Indonesia, to which the EU sent 1.9 million tons in 2018 (+98 percent compared with 2017). In contrast, imports of such waste from non-EU countries into the European Union decreased by 35 percent since 2004 (9.1 million tons) and stood at 5.9 million tons in 2018, worth 9.2 billion Euro. Last year, the largest tonnage of such materials were imported from China (1.6 million tons, down by -1 percent compared with 2017), Norway (1.1 million tons, up by +9 percent compared with 2017) and the United States (0.8 million tons, up by 8 percent compared with 2017).

(GR 22019, Page 41)