"In 2020, EU exports of waste to non-EU countries reached 32.7 million tonnes, an increase of three quarters (+75%) since 2004. In contrast, imports of waste from non-EU countries decreased by 10% since 2004, amounting to 16.0 million tonnes in 2020," the EC stated.
In contrast, China has reportedly decreased its imports of European waste from the record 10.1 million tonnes in 2009 to 0.6 million tonnes in 2020.
Ferrous metals, paper and plastic account for the majority of EU waste exports. Turkey became the main destination for iron and steel waste exports with 11.8 million tonnes, making up for more than two-thirds (68%) of the volume. However, the EU has also imported 4.1 million tonnes of ferrous metals waste and 2.2 million tonnes of paper, mostly from the UK.