Delegation of the European Union to China

Circular economy in the EU: Record recycling rates and use of recycled materials in the EU

Brussels, 04/03/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190306_20
Press releases

<p>Recycling rate of plastic packaging almost doubled since 2005</p>

The recycling rates and use of recycled materials in the in the European Union (EU) are steadily growing. Overall, the EU recycled around 55% of all waste excluding major mineral waste in 2016 (compared with 53% in 2010). The rate for recovering construction and demolition waste reached 89% (2016), the recycling rate of packaging waste exceeded 67% (2016, compared with 64% in 2010) while the rate of plastic packaging was over 42% (2016, compared with 24% in 2005). The recycling rate for municipal waste stood at 46% (2017, compared with 35% in 2007) and for the waste of electrical and electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, fridges and mobile phones, which include valuable materials which can be recovered (e-waste) in the EU reached 41% (2016, compared with 28% in 2010).


In spite of these high recycling rates, on average only 12% of material resources used in the EU in 2016 came from recycled products and recovered materials - thus saving extraction of primary raw materials. This indicator, called circular material use rate, measures the contribution of recycled materials to overall demand. The indicator is lower than recycling rates, which measure the share of waste which is recycled, because some types of materials cannot be recycled, e.g. fossil fuels burned to produce energy or biomass consumed as food or fodder.

A circular economy aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible by returning them into the product cycle at the end of their use, while minimising the generation of waste. Today, the European Commission adopted the Report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The monitoring framework shows the progress in four areas of the circular economy: production and consumption, waste management, secondary raw materials and competitiveness and innovation. It comprises of 10 indicators published by Eurostat. This information is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union to provide easy access to the relevant data for citizens and policy makers in order to support the monitoring progress.

Geographical information
The European Union (EU) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

For more information
Eurostat website section dedicated to the circular economy
EU monitoring framework for the circular economy
Eurostat news article on trade in recyclables
Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan
Communication from the Commission on a monitoring framework for the circular economy
Commission Staff Working Document measuring the progress towards circular economy in the EU – key indicators for a monitoring framework

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Renata PALEN
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