EU recycled 42% of municipal waste in 2012

Around 42% of municipal waste treated by the member states of the European Union was recycled or composted in 2012, data published by the European Commission has revealed.

This means the UK is performing above average in Europe at 46% and is in tenth place in terms of recycling without composting along with Luxembourg and Austria, which each hold a 28% recycling-only rate.

Municipal waste consists largely of waste generated by households but may also include similar wastes generated by small businesses collected in the area.

The findings show  the UK generated around 472kg of municipal waste per person in 2012, 20kg less than the EU average.

And, of the estimated 465kg of waste treated per person in the UK, around 37% was sent to landfill and 17% sent for energy recovery.

Meanwhile, the amount of municipal waste generated and the treatment methods used differentiated widely between countries.

Denmark saw the highest amount of waste generated in 2012 producing 668kg per person, while Czech Republic recorded the lowest with just 308kg per person.

Germany, Austria and Belgium also recorded high amounts of municipal waste, but managed to recycle or compost more than 50% of waste generated.

Germany alone treated 65% of its municipal waste, with 35% going to energy recovery and zero waste to landfill.

In contrast, Romania landfilled 99% of its municipal waste arisings, closely followed by Malta, Croatia, Latvia, and Greece, which all landfilled more than 80% of waste.

Denmark and Sweden both incinerated 52% of municipal waste, while the Netherlands and Belgium sent more than 40% of their arisings to energy-from-waste.


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