Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, has announced that municipal waste generation in the EU was 475kg per capita in 2014, down 10% compared to 2002 levels, with 44% being either recycled or composted.
Municipal waste generation has been falling every year since 2007, with a peak in 2002 of 527kg per person. The amount of municipal waste generated varies significantly across the EU Member States. At the low end of the scale, Romania, Poland and Latvia generated less than 300kg per person. At the other end, Denmark was responsible for 759kg per person, followed by Cyprus (626kg), Germany (618kg) and Luxembourg (616kg).
Treatment of municipal waste also varies across the EU, with almost half recycled in Slovenia (49%) and Germany (47%), compared to only 3% in Latvia and 5% in Romania. Composting is most prevalent in Austria (32%), followed by the Netherlands (27%) and Belgium (21%), whilst the lowest rates were found in Romania (2%), Bulgaria (2%) and the Czech Republic (3%).
The 56% of municipal waste not recycled or composted is split evenly between incineration and landfilling. The highest rates of incineration are found in Estonia (56%), Denmark (54%), Finland and Sweden (both 50%), while the highest shares of municipal waste landfilled were recorded in Latvia (92%), Malta (88%) and Croatia (83%). Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have all achieved landfill rates of 1%.