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German packaging waste stranded in Turkey raises legal questions

Containers with plastics from packaging take-back <br>systems may have to be returned. (representative image)
Containers with plastics from packaging take-back
systems may have to be returned. (representative image)
06.05.2021 − 

Consignments of plastic waste from the German packaging waste recovery system now in Turkey have been the topic of much conversation and conjecture in recent days. Thousands of tonnes of sorted fractions may have to be repatriated, EUWID has learned. According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the German packaging waste clearing-house, various state ministries and the public prosecutor's office are said to be involved.

A significant number of the ten "dual" or green-dot system operators appear to be connected to the plastic waste shipments, and are working with their contractual partners to clarify the matter. At the centre of the controversy is a recycling plant in the northern Turkish province of Düzce – belonging to the company 2B Plast – which was certified by a German environmental auditor in 2019. The plant located around 200 km east of Istanbul is said to have been since dismantled, and the auditor withdrew the certificate a few days ago, retroactive to February 2021.

Just over 3,100 tonnes of plastics from German compliance schemes for household packaging waste were delivered to this plant in 2019. Following a review of supporting documentation for managed volumes in autumn 2020, the packaging waste clearing house (Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister) declined to credit five system operators for the material they had sent to the Turkish recycler. The authority questioned the validity of the company's certificate. Among the potential issues identified by the clearinghouse was that there had been no evaluation of 2B Plast's product sales.

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