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Waste (Turkey)

Why should we care about this issue

Waste Waste
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Solid Waste Management plays a crucial role in terms of community health and protecting the environment and is vitally important for the country. Increasing solid waste volumes due to population growth, technological development, industrialisation and urbanisation have become a major environmental problem.

In Turkey, the most common method of waste disposal, especially for municipal waste, is landfilling. This necessitates all existing landfills for waste and the other installations for waste disposal to be adapted in compliance with the national legislation or to be closed and replaced by new installations and facilities.

The environmental legislation in Turkey are mainly based on Article 56 of the Constitution, which relates directly to the environment and, indirectly, of various other articles of the same.

In addition to the 1982 Constitution, other main legislations are Environmental Law No:2872, related by-laws and other legal arrangements.

And also, according to the aim of By-law on the Control of Solid Waste  is to prohibit discharge into the receiving environment, direct or indirect, of waste and residues of all kinds in a manner which will harm the environment, as well as storage, transportation, disposal of the above and similar activities, to bring a certain discipline to the management of consumer materials which could harm the environment, to prevent pollutants manifesting a lasting effect in the air, soil and water from adversely affecting future generations of animals and plants, natural wealth and the ecological balance, and to determine, implement and develop principles, policies and programmes directed to this end.


The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Main reason for taking different years as a base for presentation of the amount of different waste streams is that the inventory studies of a waste stream can be started after the publication of the releated By-law.


Municipal Waste:


The current status regarding the municipal waste amount produced in Turkey is estimated according to the outputs of the Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP) study whose data is derived from the site studies as well as the expert opinions.

As a result of the SWMP study, the solid waste generation per capita are determined for the year 2006 and these determined numbers are compiled to 2008 according to the population data of each province in Turkey. According to that, the total amount of municipal waste collected in Turkey is 24.4 million tons per year in 2008, 12.7 million tons of waste was directly disposed of in landfills and 0.3 million tons were treated in composting facilities. The composition of municipal waste for 2008 taken from the SWMP study is given in Figure1


Figure 1: Composition of municipal waste (2008)


Figure 1: Composition of Municipal Waste (2008)

According to the municipal waste composition showing in Figure 1, the total amount of biodegradable waste (kitchen waste, garden waste, paper/cardboard) generated in Turkey is around 15 million ton per year.


The amount of municipal waste according to the disposal route in 2008 is given in Table 1 .


Table 1: Municipal Waste Disposal Route (2008)


Disposal Method


( ton/year)

Controlled landfill




Waste sent to composting plants




Total collected waste



            In the existing situation, as of 2008, there are a total number of 38 landfills for municipal waste in Turkey.

By 2008, there are 6 separate cells for medical waste with bottom liner prepared in accordance with the By-law on the Control of Hazardous Waste. Medical waste is buried in these cells with lime for sterilization purposes.

When population data are examined, it is seen from figure 2 that the ratio of the population benefiting from waste management services in accordance with the by-laws such as landfills and composting facilities is 44 % . 39 % of Turkish population has conection to waste disposal and recycling facilities and services.

            There are 4 operating composting facilities in Turkey. Their capacities and the amount of waste processed are given in Table 2.


Table 2: Composting Facilities





Amount of waste transferred (tonnes/year)

Amount of waste composted (tonnes/year)

İZMİR (Menemen)


















In Denizli the separeted waste is delivered to compost facility and in the other provinces the separation is done following the waste is taken by the facilities.


Packaging Waste


According to MoEF database, there were 930 packaging production facilities in 2005 and this number increased to 2,637 in 2006.


Facilities for Sorting and Recycling of Packaging Waste


The application of licensing the sorting and recycling facilities for packaging waste commenced initially in year 2003. The number of facilities licensed by the MoEF in the 6-year period between years 2003 and 2008 is listed in Table 3.


Table 3: Licensed Sorting and Recycling Facilities for Packaging Waste (2003-2008)


Table 3 Licensed sorting and recycling facilities for packaging waste (2003-2008)

18 of the facilities which have obtained licenses are paper recycling facilities, 6 are glass recycling facilities, 55 are for recycling of plastic, 3 are engaged in recycling of metal, and 2 are for composite recycling.


Hazardous Wastes:


There exits 3 hazardous waste landfills in Turkey, which are İZAYDAŞ (İzmit Metropolitan Municipality, İzmit Waste and Residue Treatment and Incineration and Recycling Co. Inc.), ERDEMİR (Ereğli Iron and Steel Manufacturing Inc.),and İSKEN (İskenderun Energy Production and Trade Company). ERDEMİR and İSKEN store only their own waste as they do not accept waste from any other industry. It is only İZAYDAŞ that accepts waste from different industries all over the country. The total capacity of İZAYDAŞ is 790,000 m3, and its capacity utilization ratio as of 2007 was about 20% .


Facilities for Hazardous Waste Recovery:


In Table 4, number and capacity of hazardous waste recovery facilities are given for 2008.


Table 4: Number and Capacity of Hazardous Waste Recovery Facilities (2008)

Table 4 Number and capacity of hazardous waste recovery facilities (2008)


According to 2008 data, 24 cement factories are licensed to utilize hazardous waste as alternative fuel for energy recovery.


Waste Oil:


The annual amount of mineral oil released into the market in Turkey is around 350,000 tons. It is estimated that the amount of waste mineral oil generated every year is approximately 150,000 tons. The total amount of waste oil registered in 2007 was 34,280 tons. The waste oil collected in 2007 in accordance with the by-law is about 20% of the total amount of waste oil generated in Turkey. An annual increase of 5% is anticipated in the amount of waste oil collected every year. Figure 3 shows the amount of mineral oil released into the market between 2004 and 2007, and the amounts of waste oil collected, recovered and disposed.

Figure 3. Annual amount of mineral oils, amounts of waste oil collected,recovered and disposed (tonnes/year)

                       Figure 2: Annual Amount of Mineral Oils, Amounts of Waste Oil Collected,  

                                       Recovered and Disposed (tons/year)



Used Batteries and Accumulators:


The annual quantity of batteries released into the market in Turkey is around 10,000 tons, and that of accumulators is 74,000 tons. As a result of the inventory conducted within the framework of the by-law, the amount of used batteries recorded in 2007 was 200 tons whereas the amount of waste accumulators was 45,476 tons. The quantity of waste accumulators collected in 2007 in accordance with the by-law amounted to approximately 67% of the accumulators released into the market in Turkey; on the other hand, the quantity of used batteries collected in 2007 amounted to approximately 2% of the amount released into the market. In years 2006 and 2007, 229 tons/year of used batteries were collected according to the Separate Collection at Source implementation in accordance with the respective legislation.



Medical Waste:


According to data of year 2006 issued by the Ministry of Health (Statistical Yearbook of In-patient Healthcare Establishments, 2006), the total number of hospitals in Turkey is 1,204 and the number of active beds is 173,421. As a result of calculations made according to provinces considering the bed occupancy ratio, inpatient and outpatient healthcare establishments generate a daily amount of 250 tons and an annual amount of 91,323 tons of medical waste. Table 5 shows the total daily and annual amounts of medical waste emanating from in-patient and out-patient healthcare establishments in 2006.

As of September 2008, 12,681 tons of medical waste representing 14% of the total had been sterilized and thus rendered as harmless. Beside these plants, project preparation and licensing of facilities are still in progress in many provinces. There are 3 sterilization facilities with 13000 tonnes/year capacity which have started their processes in 2008 According to Municipality Waste Statistics 2008, 3153 tonnes of medical waste have been sterilized and 2688 tonnes of this sterilised waste has been delivered to landfills and 465 tonnes has been delivered to municipality waste area.


Table 5: Amount of Medical Waste (2006)

Table 5. Amount of medical waste (2006)


Vegetable Oil:


An increase in the amount of waste vegetable oil collected is anticipated together with the increase in the number of authorized organizations collecting these oils (Municipalities and initiatives). As of 2008, the number of organizations had risen to 8 and the number of vehicles used for this purpose increased to 124. The amount of waste vegetable oil collected from refineries in 2008 was 64,527 tons. The amount of frying oil collected from producers of waste oils such as houses, restaurants, canteens, etc. was 3,210 tons.


End of Life Tyres (ELT):


As stated in By-law on Control of End-of-life Tyres, MoEF is assigned and authorized with the development of management plans together with relevant parties and to enforce the producers to reach determined quota rate by transportation, recovery and disposal of ELT In Turkey, approximately 8 million units/year of tyre is produced. According to MoEF, the estimated amount of ELT is 284,800 ton/year. When considering the first year’s quota (30% of the total amount), the amount of ELT that producers have to collect is approximately 113,000 ton/year.


Facilities for End of Life Tyres (ELT) Recovery:


The total capacity of facilities recovering end of life tyres as granulated material is 61,000 ton/year. Moreover, the total capacity of 21 cement plants licensed for using ELT as alternative fuel for energy recovery is 130,000 ton/year.


Incineration Plants :


At present, there are 3 facilities used for incineration of waste licensed by MoEF. These facilities and their capacities are given in Table 6. The incineration capacities of these plants are design capacities, and their actual utilization ratio is about 80%.

Table 6: Incineration Plants in Operation (2008)

Table 6. Incineration plants in operation (2008)


The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

There are 2,951 municipalities in Turkey. Besides the deficient amount of environmental tax, having a large number of municipalities with different characteristics makes the municipal waste management difficult in Turkey. It is very difficult to develop and implement a waste management model that fits the all municipalities. Because of this reason, to establish Municipality Unions / Waste Managemement Unions among the municipalities which are close by distance and have parallel characteristics is found as most appropriate solution.

During the establishment of the Municipality Unions, population is taken into consideration as the most important parameter. In order to be able to plan and run satisfactory solid waste management services with a sustainable cost, service population shall not be less than a certain number. When the fundamental parameters like the geographical features, population density and transportation network situation in Turkey are taken into account, it is assumed that such a population needs to be around 300,000. According to this, the associations are defined to serve to maximum population within a service area of 50-60 km transportation distances.

Municipality Unions were formed overall Turkey by MoEF in order to develop plans regarding the establishment of landfills, reduction of solid waste amount, increase in recovery, reduction of the transportation cost and erecting waste transfer stations if necessary, and also to develop pilot projects for landfills and rehabilitation of old dump sites.

According to TurkStat database in 2006, waste amount per capita was determined as 1,21kg/ According to 2008 results it’s 1,15 kg/person-day.  

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Packaging Waste Management Plan:


According to Article 14 of Packaging and Packaging Wastes Directive, member countries are requested to prepare packaging and packaging waste management plan in pursuance of Waste Framework Directive. This plan can be either a part of the waste management plan or a plan on its own.

A detailed management plan is to be prepared including all topics refered in By-law on Control of Packaging Waste, defining the procedures for national and provincial investments, implementations etc. According to Metropolitan Municipality and Municipality Laws, municipalities are the responsible institutons for collection of packaging waste. For this reason, in order to success separate collection at municipal level, a packaging waste management plan format is developed by MoEF. Packaging Waste Management Plan is a detailed action plan defining who, when and how the services regarding accumulation, collection, transportation, sorting and recycling of packaging wastes are to be held.

Provincial and district municipalities and also PDoEF are responsible to control whether the works are made in accordance with packaging waste management plan, take measures and impose administrative sanctions to packaging waste producers that do not collect their packaging wastes separately.

One of the strategic targets for the next 5 years is the preparation of national packaging waste management plan.



Hazardous Waste Management Plan:


It is aimed to conduct a more detailed planning study in order to overcome the problems experienced till now within the context of hazardous waste management and to develop the concept of national hazardous waste management by MoEF. The scope of the planning study will be as follows:

v  Accurate determination of the presently produced quantities, types, sources and their regional distribution of the generated hazardous wastes based on the existing studies and on-site studies that include visits to big scaled waste generators,

v  Demarcation of catchment areas for central treatment and disposal facilities giving due consideration to waste production patterns, geographical, economical, geological and hydrogeological aspects, transport requirements, optimum capacities of disposal facilities

v  Determination of the facilities (transfer stations, intermediate storage plants, CPT, disposal plants), number of facilities, preferred location, main concept of each facility, investment and operation costs of facilities that are required for developing national hazardous waste management plan compatible with EU legislation

v  Determination of the requirements for ensuring the disposal of hazardous wastes in certain production facilities such as cement kilns, brick factories, heating and power stations, thermal metal recovery

v  Determination of the payment capacity of industries for hazardous waste disposal

v  Determination of site selection criteria for the hazardous waste management plants

v  Determination of the most suitable organizational and institutional system in accordance with the conditions of Turkey for the development of a more efficient and integrated hazardous waste management system

v  Determination of the structure concerning personnel requirements, required equipment and budget which is required for the monitoring and control activities of the hazardous waste disposal activities


Roadmap that is required to be succeeded for the compatibility of Turkey’s hazardous waste management to EU norms will be realized with this study which will be conducted by taking into consideration the EU legislation.


Biodegradable Waste Management Plan:


The harmonization process of EU Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC, which is stating the limits for reduction of biodegradable waste sent to landfills, is still in progress. Although, only the member states must comply with these limits, candidate countries like Turkey shall also present the maximum effort in order to meet the targets. In this context, Biodegradable Waste Management Plan is to be prepared presenting the national strategies for reduction of biodegradable waste amount sent to landfills, biodegradable waste quantities, relevant pre-treatment options (composting, biogas production, energy/material recovery etc.) and precautions to be taken.


Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Legal Framework:


Turkey has recently taken very serious steps on adaptation of its national legislation to the EU legislation and has published 11 different by-laws within the last 4 years or has made revisions on the existing by-laws.

One of the most important by-laws among the recently published by-laws is the By-law on the General Principles of the Waste Management. An integrated waste strategy will be introduced for waste management in Turkey through the publication of this by-law bearing a by-law property. Moreover, European Waste Catalogue will be completely harmonized through this by-law prepared by taking into consideration the EU Directives. Most of the legislation having critical importance will be in compliance with the EU legislation in 2010.


Waste Management Planning on National Basis:


More efficient and integrated waste management system is aimed through these objectives and priorities stated in all areas of waste management. However, national waste management plan is required to be supported with local and waste stream level sub-plans in order to achieve the targets.


Effective Implementation of the Waste Management Legislation:


Effective implementation of the waste management legislation is very essential for improvement of waste management at national and local level. MoEF made a serious progress on this subject in last few years. However, taking new measures additionally in the upcoming 5 years to rapidly proceed on this progress will be beneficial. Planned measures are as follows:

v  implementation of effective sanctions for the public, institutions and associations in case of non-fulfillment of the requirements of waste management legislation

v  appointment of sufficient and well qualified personnel in legal institutions and corporations

v  allocation of sufficient number and appropriate technical resources (equipment, etc.)

v  establishment of the information system for the collection and evaluation of data


Planned activities for the development of control and monitoring activities that will be applied by MoEF are:

v  Sampling from wastes in accordance with the international standards and development and implementation of methods related to analytical control,

v  Increasing the number of accredited laboratories where waste analyses are done,

v  Making quality controls of analyses that are carried out in accredited laboratories.



Development of Strategies for Prevention and Minimization of the Waste Generation:

Prevention and reduction of waste production is the initial main strategic target of MoEF. Opportunities have to be used at a maximum level to achieve this objective. Prevention and reduction of waste production is also considered as a strategic objective in the existing national legislations in Turkey. Consequently, this objective has a priority among the strategic objectives on waste management in Turkey.

Minimization of waste amount in parallel to population increase and economical development is fairly hard and difficult objective to be achieved in a short time. Therefore, ensuring continuity on policies and paying a continuous effort over the long term is required to achieve this objective.

The population of Turkey is increasing every year and as this increase will continue at a minimum ratio in next 20 years, considering waste amount per capita instead of total waste amount is more suitable in terms of the country’s conditions in setting their targets for the reduction of waste generation.





The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
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