Turkey and China main destinations for EU’s waste


© Larina Marina /

Since 2004, exports of waste to non-EU countries have increased by +69%, reaching 41.4 million tonnes in 2018. The value of waste exports to non-EU countries amounted to €16.6 billion in 2018.

Imports of waste from non-EU countries remained stable and stood at 13.1 million tonnes in 2018 (compared with 13.2 million tonnes in 2004, or -1%).

Waste imported from non-EU countries was valued at €11.2 billion in 2018.


EU's trade in waste, million tonnes (2004-2018)

Turkey and China are the main destinations for the EU’s waste. EU exports of waste to Turkey almost tripled since 2004 and reached around 13.0 million tonnes in 2018 (-5% compared with 2017).On the other hand, EU exports to China decreased by more than half, from the 2009 peak of 14.1 million tonnes to 5.2 million tonnes in 2018 (-46% compared with 2017).

The EU’s third main partner for the export of waste is India with 4.7 million tonnes in 2018 (+67% compared with 2017).

Compared with 2017, EU waste exports to Indonesia rose significantly (+97%, to 1.9 million tonnes in 2018). Between 2004 and 2018, significant increases were observed in Pakistan (+670%, or 2.2 million tonnes in 2018 and Egypt (+225%, or 1.7 million tonnes in 2018).

Main destinations for EU's waste (2004-2018)

Most waste arrivals into EU from Norway, Switzerland and the United States

The EU also receives waste from non-EU countries. The largest tonnage of waste was imported from Norway (3.0 million tonnes in 2018, up by +5% compared with 2017), Switzerland (2.5 million tonnes in 2018, up by +3% compared with 2017), and the United States (2.1 million tonnes in 2018, down by -16% compared with 2017).

Over longer period of time, the largest increase in waste imports was recorded from Norway: from 1.1 million tonnes in 2004 to 3.0 million tonnes in 2018 (+183%). The waste arriving from Russia decreased significantly: from 4.6 million tonnes in 2004 to 1.2 million tonnes in 2018 (-73%).

Main EU's partners for waste imports 2004-2018

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