Turkey: Huge Market Potential and Dynamics by Establishing New Partnerships

“In Turkey, studies in the field of waste management have shown a very significant development in the last 12 years, with increasing social and political sensitivity. The steps are being taken to implement the economic size of the waste with National Recycling Strategy Action Plan that is considered as an important point to reach our vision of 2023“, underlined Prof. Dr. Mustafa Öztürk, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization in 2014.

In fact, the latest figures the Turkish Statistical Institute released on waste in December 2015 show an increase in the waste treatment: a total of 985 facilities, 117 of which were waste disposal facilities, including 113 controlled landfill sites and four incineration plants. The 868 recovery facilities consisted of four composting plants, 39 co-incineration plants with energy recovery and 825 other recovery facilities. Moreover, 45 sterilization facilities treated medical waste that was disposed of by two third in controlled landfills and by one third in municipal dumping sites. Another contemporaneous source reported an annual added value in excess of 756 million Euro in 2015 that increased the number of packaging waste recycling plant to 642 and 497 sorting plants to 497. In its latest enlargement report on Turkey in November 2015, the EU commission balanced: “Work has continued to bring waste treatment facilities up to EU standards. Sorting, recycling, medical waste treatment capacity and hazardous waste recycling have increased.“

Resulting, the 39 co-incineration plants in 2012 burned 532,000 tons of waste with energy recovery. The composting facilities with a total capacity of 310,000 tons/year processed 94,000 tons of waste and produced 34,000 tons of compost. 43,000 tons of waste – 40,000 tons hazardous and 3,000 tons non-hazardous – were disposed of in the four incineration plants. And the 825 licensed recovery facilities handled a total amount of 19 million tons of waste metal, plastic, paper, mineral etc..



Poor recycling rates

Turkish household waste is made of 34 percent organic kitchen waste, 22 percent non-combustible and 19 percent combustible materials, 20 percent packaging waste, 16 percent paper and cardboard, six percent glass, two percent plastics and one percent metals. Given an annual amount of scarcely 29 million tons of municipal waste, there should be a respectable quantity of recycled material. According to the above-mentioned “National Recycling Strategy Document and Action Plan 2014-17“ published by the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, more than half of the waste generated in Turkey can be recycled.

Of course does the absence of data not necessarily equate to a poor performance of the waste management system. But following the European Environment Agency, the Turkish municipal waste recycling quote from 2001 to 2010 varied between 0.6 and 1.2 percent, Recycling Waste World certificated “poor recycling rates due to the lack of adequate facilities and incentives“, and the current ISWA Waste Atlas simply offers a recycling rate of Zero. The Environmental Protection and Packaging Waste Recovery & Recycling Foundation CEVKO estimates that every year paper, metal, plastic, glass and wood scrap of Euro 302 million worth are lost by reason of missing waste separation.

There is some potential

In that context, the European Environment Agency 2013 found out that out of the approximate 30 million tons of municipal waste generated in 2010, 84 percent were collected and about 98 percent of them were landfilled either in sanitary landfills (54 percent) or dumpsites (44 percent) – with no available information regarding the fate of the uncollected amount of municipal waste. And Mustafa Öztürk emphasized that in 2012 the “disposal technologies“ for collected municipal waste included 29 percent dumpsite and 71 percent “landfill compost“.

However, there is some potential especially in packaging waste, stated Mustafa Öztürk. The total economic value that can be gained to Turkey‘s economy from packaging waste is nearly about  2.1 to 2.7 billion Euro per year, consisting of 1.13 billion Euro from waste paper recycling, 838 million Euro from waste plastic recycling, 9 to 10.5 million Euro from waste glass recycling and 38.7 million Euro from waste metal recycling. Not to forget 11.3 million Euro income from end of life tires, 26.4 million Euro from waste accumulators, 17.8 million Euro from end of life vehicles and 7 million Euro from waste oil. Öztürk is convinced: “According to Turkish National Legislation, it is aimed that 60 percent of marketed products packaging waste are obliged to collect and recover to 2020.“

This is ambitious, as the current recycling targets for packaging waste in Turkey should account for 52 percent for glass, plastic, metal and paper/cardboard. And obviously they do not.

Most EU directives transposed

The legislation is not to blame. Regarding the law, the legislation on environmental issues started early. The Solid Waste Control Regulation was adopted in 1991 and the Environment Law in 1993. Meanwhile, in accordance with the related national legislation and EU legislation, regulations have passed the parliament to control hazardous, medical, package, C&D, batteries, mining, oil and WEEE wastes, to rule end of life vehicles and tires and to put sanitary landfills, waste incineration and transport of waste in order. Most of the EU waste management directives have been transposed into Turkey’s national legislation and made the country more EU-friendly. But their “enforcement remains weak, especially on waste management and industrial pollution“, the EU Commission judged.

Necessary investments were estimated by the “EU Integrated Environmental Approximation Strategy (2007 – 2023)“ adopted in 2006. The paper claimed waste sector costs by directives of 7,574  million Euro for sanitary landfills, 1,257 million Euro for incineration, 655 million Euro for the packaging sector and 74 million Euro for treatment of hazardous waste until 2023 – a “rough calculation“, as waste management expert Professor Oktay Tabasaran specifies. Yet another – unauthenticated – source reports investments from 1.3 billion Euro in 2010 increasing to a total of 2 billion Euro to 3.9 billion Euro between 2013 and 2023 annually. A waste market development analysis on behalf of the German Ministry of Economics in August 2012 even estimated investment needs for the implementation of EU environment regulation by 53.7 billion Euro, of which 13.4 billion Euro are entitled to the private sector: The ruling AKP prefers privatization and infrastructural measures based on the Public-Private-Partnership scheme.



Programs supported by EU

The official Turkish waste management plans were supported. In 2012, the German KfW-Bank co-financed a degazing installation at the Adana landfill and later the remediation of the Samsun landfill. In summer 2015, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched a program in Turkey aiming at minimizing waste and increasing resource efficiency in the industry, agribusiness and municipal sectors. The program was expected to fund up to 12 investments for up to 112 million Euro in total. The European Union also supported the program with a 2 million Euro technical cooperation package through its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). These so called “Near Zero Waste“ Programe’s funds were available to clients of the EBRD with a private-sector focus but may include municipalities and/or municipal companies. It seems that the private sector gets more and more important in environmental fields of activity. Data announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute for 2013 reported environmental costs of the public sector at 4.5 billion Euro and environmental revenues at 3 billion Euro. However, the private sector spent 1.3 billion Euro on environmental expenses and earned 1.7 million Euro in revenues.

The private sector invests

Germany Trade and Invest, the Company for Foreign Trade and Location Marketing, has documented a development in the waste management sector as well. Besides investment of regional corporations, ITC (Invest Trading Consulting) placed a total of 672 million Euro already in 2013 to build power stations in Antalya, Alanya and Aksaray. The Sabanci Holding took 279 million Euro to change the energy recovery in the cement plants of Cimsa and Akcansa over to use waste and residues. Paper producer Eren Holding planned 2014 and 2015 a new papermill worth of 300 million Euro with a 100 percent waste paper recovery.

In order to optimize the delivered metal scrap, metal and steel smelter Icdas planned to put 8.9 million Euro into a cutting unit. In March 2015 Ersem Plastik invested 1.4 million Euro in the production of plastic granulates. And Ekmekciogullari Metal ve Kimya in Corum wants to finance the expansion of its business for copper recycling with 4.7 million Euro. So GTAI draws the conclusion of “high potential for waste disposal projects“ and is certain, that “Turkey promises steep growth“.

Benefits highly exceed occurring costs

So it seems to come true, what the German Ministry of Economics forecasted: “In politics the awareness is increasing to lower the import of raw materials by recovery. But the private sector rises its willingness to invest in the recovery of raw material or the avoidance of waste.“ This applies to foreign investors too. A comprehensive study published by Switzerland Global Enterprise in 2013 has enumerated the benefits of the Turkish waste management market containing ”huge market potential and dynamics by establishing new partnerships, business networks, solutions and marketing and sales channels in Turkey, where ‘energy‘ and ‘environment‘ and their related sub-sectors and (sub-) technology areas will always be on policy’s main strategic agenda“. So if any company would like to enter the Turkish waste management and waste water treatment market, “the resulting benefits arising from any project type, business case and / or R&D initiative could highly exceed its occurring costs“.

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