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And the best waste performing country in Europe is… Estonia!

The best waste disposal country in Europe is... Estonia!

According to statistics released by Eurostat last week, in terms of waste avoidance and recycling, the best performing countries in Europe are Estonia, Slovenia and Belgium.

In fact, countries such as Germany do a good job in recycling (65%), but generate a lot of waste (611kg). Then there are countries that do not generate much waste (324 kg) but do not recycle much, such as Slovakia (13% recycling rate).

If you look at how much waste is sent to landfills or incinerated after recycling, it is possible to understand the country's waste management performance. (See the red column in the table at the bottom)

Estonia, Slovenia and Belgium combine low levels of municipal waste generation with acceptable recycling and composting levels, which makes them countries that send fewer kilograms. Landfill and incinerator per person.

Estonia is the best-performing country in the European Union. Each person generates 279 kilograms and recycles 40% of it. The remaining 167 kilograms need to be disposed of.

That is, less than 0.5 kg per person per day. 2 times less than the Danes, 3 times less than the Greeks, 4 times less than the Maltese...

For reference, a zero-waste city is a living proof that it can reduce the best European benchmarks to more than three times that of Estonia. For example, in the Contarina district, the annual residual waste is 57 kg (ie 0.15 kg per day!).

These statistics are released once a year and reflect the number of kilograms. Municipal solid waste produced by Europeans and its treatment methods. On average, each European person generates 492 kg, 42% is recycled, and 58% is landfilled or incinerated. This is a slight improvement compared to 2011, when the amount of waste generated was 503 kg (an increase of 11 kg from 2012), and the conversion from disposal to recycling was 2%.

"Lies, damn lies and statistics," Mark Twain once said

All statistics need a little bit of salt, especially those based on EU waste disposal.

First of all, because this information is provided by the Ministry of Environment in the capitals of the European Union, and the European Commission does not have much capacity to carefully check its consistency.

Second, because there is currently no uniform method to calculate which waste is recycled, composted or landfilled, or which waste is classified as municipal solid waste. For example, waste export and backfilling are considered recycling in some countries, but not all EU countries are considered recycling. Or some countries (such as France) allow MBT factory products to be called compost, while other countries prohibit it.

Finally, caution is required, because the distinction between treatment categories is not helpful in understanding the actual final location of the waste. For example, incineration is a pretreatment operation, because after combustion, there will still be 20% to 30% of the toxic ash that needs to be landfilled, but they will not appear in the landfill column.

This explains that Germany and other countries have a zero landfill rate, but in fact their landfill volume exceeds that of France (the former is 30 million tons, the latter is 24 tons). "0" Landfill means that waste that has not been pre-treated will not be landfilled...

All in all, although it must be recognized that Eurostat has managed to provide the most homogeneous supranational data on waste treatment in the world, the degree of heterogeneity should be considered when making comparisons.

At the same time, the data so far do show that in terms of waste management, the boundary between Western and Eastern Europe has narrowed. In general, the performance of old EU member states such as Spain or France in recycling is significantly lower than that of new member states such as Estonia or Slovenia.

At the same time, although traditional "advanced" member states such as Sweden, Denmark or Germany fall into the incineration trap, we may see new waste advocates appearing in places where they can flexibly continue to reduce waste generation and increase recycling.

Estonia is the best-performing country in the European Union. Each person generates 279 kilograms and recycles 40% of it. The remaining 167 kilograms need to be disposed of.

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