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In 2012, 42% of treated municipal waste was recycled or composted

Environment in the EU28      STAT/14/48  25 March 2014

In 2012, 42% of treated municipal waste was recycled or composted

In the EU28, 492 kg of municipal waste1 was generated per person in 2012, while 480 kg of municipal waste was treated2 per person. This municipal waste was treated in different ways3: 34% was landfilled, 24% incinerated, 27% recycled and 15% composted. For the EU4 there has been a significant increase in the share of municipal waste recycled or composted, from 18% in 1995 to 42% in 2012.

Share of treated municipal waste recycled or composted in the EU, 1995-2012
The amount of municipal waste generated varies significantly across Member States. Denmark,with 668 kg per person, had the highest amount of waste generated in 2012, followed by Cyprus, Luxembourgand Germany with lower amounts but above 600 kg per person and Malta, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Finlandand Greece with values between 500 and 600 kg. The United Kingdom, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belgium, Portugal and Hungary had values between 400 and 500 kg, while values of below 400 kg per person were recorded in Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Estonia.

This information5 is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

More than 50% of municipal waste recycled or composted in Germany, Austria and Belgium
The treatment methods differ substantially between Member States. In 2012, recycling and composting of municipal waste together accounted for more than 50% of waste treated in Germany(65% of waste treated), Austria (62%) and Belgium (57%). Recycling and composting was also the major part of waste treatment in the Netherlands (50%), Luxembourg (47%), the United Kingdom (46%), Ireland (45%) and France (39%). In Finland composting & recycling and incineration had equal shares (both 34%).

Observing the treatment methods separately, recycling was most common in Germany (47% of waste treated), Slovenia (42%), Ireland (37%), Belgium (36%), Estonia (34%), Denmark and Sweden(both 32%), and composting in Austria (34%), the Netherlands (26%), Belgium(21%), Luxembourg (19%), Germanyandthe United Kingdom (both 18%).

The highest shares of municipal waste landfilled were recorded in Romania(99% of waste treated), Malta (87%), Croatia (85%), Latvia (84%) and Greece (82%), and of incinerated municipal waste in Denmarkand Sweden(both 52%),the Netherlands (49%), Belgium (42%), Luxembourg (36%), Germany and Austria (both 35%), Finland (34%) and France (33%).

Municipal waste, 2012

 

Municipal waste generated,
kg per person


Total municipal waste treated,
kg per person


Municipal waste treated, %

Recycled & composted

Recycled

Composted

Landfilled

Incinerated

EU28

492

480

42

27

15

34

24

Belgium

456

458

57

36

21

1

42

Bulgaria

460

433

27

24

3

73

0

Czech Republic

308

308

24

21

3

57

20

Denmark

668

668

45

32

13

3

52

Germany

611

610

65

47

18

0

35

Estonia

279

220

40

34

6

44

16

Ireland

570

570

45

37

8

39

16

Greece

503

493

18

16

2

82

0

Spain

464

464

27

17

10

63

10

France

534

534

39

23

16

28

33

Croatia

391

381

16

14

2

85

0

Italy

529

523

38

24

14

41

20

Cyprus

663

663

21

12

9

79

0

Latvia

301

301

16

14

2

84

0

Lithuania

469

458

21

19

2

79

1

Luxembourg

662

662

47

28

19

18

36

Hungary

402

402

26

21

5

65

9

Malta

589

559

13

9

4

87

0

Netherlands

551

551

50

24

26

2

49

Austria

552

528

62

28

34

3

35

Poland

314

249

25

13

12

75

1

Portugal

453

453

27

12

15

54

20

Romania

389

313

1

1

0

99

0

Slovenia

362

301

47

42

5

51

2

Slovakia

324

313

13

6

7

77

10

Finland

506

506

34

22

12

33

34

Sweden

462

462

47

32

15

1

52

United Kingdom

472

465

46

28

18

37

17

Iceland

338

338

42

36

6

50

7

Norway

477

467

40

26

14

2

57

Switzerland

694

694

50

35

15

0

50

Former Yug. Rep of Macedonia

381

381

-

-

-

100

-

Serbia

364

254

0

0

0

100

0

Turkey

390

329

1

0

1

99

0

Bosnia and Herzegovina

346

284

-

-

-

100

-

Data for Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina are estimated.

0 equals less than 0.5%

"-" indicates a real zero

1.     Municipal waste consists to a large extent of waste generated by households, but may also include similar wastes generated by small businesses and public institutions and collected by the municipality; this part of municipal waste may vary from municipality to municipality and from country to country, depending on the local waste management system.
For areas not covered by a municipal waste collection scheme the amount of waste generated is estimated. Waste from agriculture and industry is not included.

2.     The reported quantities of waste generated and treated do not match exactly for some Member States, for the following reasons: estimates for the population not covered by collection schemes, weight losses due to dehydration, double counts of waste undergoing two or more treatment steps, exports and imports of waste and time lags between generation and treatment (temporary storage).

3.     Waste treatment refers to the following methods:

Landfill means the depositing of waste into or onto land, including specially engineered landfill and temporary storage of over one year.

Incineration means thermal treatment of waste in an incineration plant.

Recycling means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes, except use as fuel.

Composting means the biological treatment (anaerobic or aerobic) of biodegradable matter resulting in a recoverable product.

In principle, data on treated municipal waste only refer to waste treated within the Member State, and does not take into account waste exported for treatment. However, recycling capacities may be limited in small countries. Luxembourg is a case where recycled amounts include exports.

4.   Data refer to EU27 until 2007 and to EU28 from 2008 until 2012

5.   For further information, please visit the web site of Eurostat, under Statistics / Environment / Environmental Data Centre on Waste

 


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