Europe’s Worst Recyclers Set to Miss EU Targets

A European Commission report has looked at recycling across all of its member states and has issued an early warning to 14 nations who are in danger of missing the 2020 target for recycling municipal waste.

The worst performing recyclers are Malta, Romania, Greece, and Cyprus who back in 2016, all recycled less than 20% of their waste. The EU target is 50%, so the 14 countries on the list definitely have some work to do.

The worst recycling rate award goes to…Malta

Its recycling rate is only 7%, and around 83% of its waste ends up in landfill. Romania is not far behind. It only recycles 13% of its waste and sends 69% to landfill. Next up is Greece, which only recycles 17% of its waste and sends a whopping 83% to landfill and finally, Cyprus, which is thankfully known for its beauty but not its recycling rate which is a dire 17%.

Estonia only recycles 28% of its waste but only sends 10% to landfill because most of its waste is incinerated. Of course, this just brings its own problems.

The pick of the bunch

Poland has a fairly good recycling rate of 44% with 36% going to landfill, and Finland is not far off the EU target either as it recycles 42% of its waste.

Eunomia, the consultancy that produced the report said that recycling and landfilling rates reported for different countries don’t add up to a perfect 100% because some of the waste is subject to thermal treatment and there is some loss within mechanical waste treatment systems.

It added that Romania, Greece, and Cyprus are in trouble as they are set to miss the 2020 EU recycling targets as things stand. The report includes proposals on how each country can improve their recycling rates, and some countries have asked for help. Some countries are taking positive action, but there is still a lot to be done.