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20 January 2011

Waste and recycling: EU can do better

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Despite a marked improvement in some countries, new statistics show that waste keeps piling up in most EU member states, suggesting that further effort is required for the bloc to become a "recycling society" that avoids waste and uses it as a resource

Let's start with the good news: waste generation levels have fallen dramatically in several EU countries, led by France, Sweden, Romania and Poland.

In total, annual waste generation in the EU-27 decreased by 10% between 2006 and 2008.

However, a review of the EU's 2005 waste strategy, published yesterday (19 January), shows that in most countries, waste generation is continuing to increase or is at best stabilising.

As for recycling rates, the progress report shows huge differences between EU countries, where recycling rates can vary from a few percent up to 70%.

Whilst recycling rates vary from one waste stream to another, overall recycling is on the increase. In 2008, waste recycling was estimated at 38% – marking progress of 5% compared to 2005 and 18% compared to 1995.


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