European Union exports of recyclable raw materials, including waste, scrap and other byproducts, hit a record high of 40.6 million tonnes last year, the bloc’s statistics office said on Tuesday.
Eurostat data showed the exports to non-EU countries, almost half of them ferrous metals such as iron and steel, were up 2.0 million tonnes on 2020, and up 80% compared with 2004 levels.
EU imports of recyclable raw materials, mostly organic products such as wood, paper and textiles made with natural fibres, reached 46.8 million tonnes in 2021, up 7% on 2004 levels.
The 27-nation bloc has been considering how to become more independent in several strategic areas, such as raw materials, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added a new argument for it to be more self-reliant.
In March, the EU said it would reduce its dependence on imported critical raw materials through strategic partnerships, stockpiling, recycling and resource efficiency.
Turkey was the EU’s top destination for recyclable raw materials last year, followed by Britain, India and Egypt.
Argentina and Brazil were its leading sources of imports in 2021, according to Eurostat. [Reuters]