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Press Release: Eurostat data for 2014 confirms need for European residual waste target

Press release: Eurostat's 2014 data confirm that the European Residual Waste Target is required.

For immediate release: Brussels, 23/03/16

According to waste statistics released by Eurostat on March 22, 2016, each European produced 475 kg of waste in 2014, of which only 44% was recycled or composted. The remaining 56% ends up in landfill (28%) or incinerated (27%).

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) has noticed two continuing trends in these statistics:

There is little improvement in waste generation. Waste is transferred from landfills to incinerators (up 1.1%) and to a lesser extent to recycling (up 1%)

Little improvement in waste generation

Transfer of waste from landfills to incinerators (increase by 1.1%) and to a lesser extent to recycling (increase by 1%)

In general, countries that perform well in waste disposal do not seem to be able to reduce waste production, and countries with the most efficient waste generation are often unable to reintroduce materials into the economy through recycling and composting.

In view of these facts and in order to promote the circular economy, ZWE calls for the adoption of the 100 kg per capita residual waste i target as an advanced recycling program as a more effective tool for increasing recycling and reducing waste generation in countries with low waste generation.

Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe, said: “The target of 100 kg of residual waste per capita in 2030 is a good indicator of resource efficiency and resource utilization, because it acts on the top level of waste, effectively combining prevention and reuse. And recycling policy".

Looking at the 2014 statistics from the perspective of residual waste per capita, it can be seen that, with the exception of Malta and Cyprus (two islands) and Denmark, there has been considerable convergence among EU member states. The per capita waste volume in the EU is 259 Kilograms, so the goal of reaching 100 kilograms by 2030 is a feasible goal.

However, in terms of waste generation and waste disposal, the situation across the EU is very diverse. Some member states such as Romania, Poland or Latvia are far below the EU’s average waste generation, which is less than 300 kg per inhabitant, while other countries such as Denmark, Cyprus and Germany produce much higher than the EU average. The inhabitants exceed 600 kilograms, even more than 750 kilograms, because it is Denmark.

ZWE also pointed out that Slovenia is a relatively new member state and is now the best EU country to implement waste hierarchical management practices. Its waste generation is far below the EU average and its recycling rate is high. This makes Slovenia the best performing EU country, with the least amount of residual waste, with an average per capita of only 102 kg in 2014.

Mr. Simon added: "Europe's circular economy means reducing waste generation and increasing recycling rates. Slovenia is a good example of how to do both at the same time."



i Proposed definition of residual waste

"Residual waste" refers to waste that is not suitable for prevention, reuse or recycling and needs to be sent for energy recovery or disposal.

"The target of 100 kg of residual waste per capita in 2030 is a good indicator of resource efficiency and resource utilization"

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