Author: Umut Korkmaz , CMS Istanbul
Overview of waste management in Turkey summarizing the legislation and practice.
Legislation on Waste Management
Turkish legislation and policy in the field of waste management have been prepared in line with the country’s harmonization process with the European Union. In this context, on the basis of Environmental Law No. 2872, several regulations have been adapted to regulate different categories of waste such as municipal waste, excavated soil, construction, and demolition waste, medical waste, hazardous waste, packaging waste, spent batteries, and accumulators, waste vegetable oils, waste electrical and electronic equipment, waste oils and end-of-life vehicles, etc. The Waste Management Regulation, which sets the framework for waste management in Turkey, has been implemented taking into account Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (Waste Framework Directive).
Turkey is also party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
Waste management has been identified as a top priority by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization (“Ministry”). In this context, the Ministry published the “National Action Plan for Waste Management 2023” in 2016, which analyses the current waste management situation for the 81 provinces of Turkey and sets out the country’s waste management objectives. The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization also has a website dedicated to waste management ZERO WASTE.
Waste management is a constantly growing area. According to the report “Municipal Waste Management in Turkey” published by the Ministry in 2016, the number of landfills in Turkey increased from 15 in 2003 to 82 in the 3rd quarter of 2016. In addition, the number of licensed recycling and recovery facilities has skyrocketed over the last decade. In 2003 there were 46 recycling and recovery facilities for different types of recyclable waste; the number of authorized facilities rose to 1226 by 2015.
According to the National Waste Management Plan and the 2016 Action Plan, 61.07% of municipal waste is disposed of in sanitary landfills and 28.25% in municipal landfills. 11% of municipal waste (including packaging waste) was reported as recycled, composted or otherwise disposed of.
The National Action Plan for Waste Management 2023 provides for the disposal of 35% of waste through recycling and 65% through regular storage by2023.
Although Turkey has adopted its waste management legislation as part of the harmonization process with the European Union and waste management is considered a priority by the Ministry, the country still needs to achieve some important goals to have a sound and sustainable waste management system. In this context, financial support should be provided to municipalities, which shoulder the main burden of implementing waste management policy, and the implementation of the 2023 National Waste Management Action Plan should be regularly monitored by the Ministry.