Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

Recycling rates and use of recycled materials hit record high in the EU

Seoul, 08/03/2019 - 08:51, UNIQUE ID: 190308_13
Press releases

Recycling rate of plastic packaging almost doubled since 2005

While the plastic waste is posing one of the biggest threats to not only Europe, but also to Korea, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU), announced that the recycling rates and use of recycled materials in the EU are steadily growing. According to Eurostat, the EU recycled around 55% of all waste excluding major mineral waste in 2016, compared with 53% in 2010.

In accordance with the EU's "Plastic Strategy", which aims to change all plastic packaging on the EU market with recyclable plastic and ban single-use plastics by 2030, the recycling rate of packaging waste exceeded 67% in 2016, compared with 64% in 2010. The recycling rate for municipal waste stood at 46% in 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 that can be recovered (e-waste) in the EU reached 41% in 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. 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 to provide easy access to the relevant data for citizens and policy makers in order to support the monitoring progress.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for sustainable development, said: "Circular economy is key to putting our economy onto a sustainable path and delivering on the global Sustainable Development Goals. This report shows that Europe is leading the way as a trail blazer for the rest of the world. At the same time more remains to be done to ensure that we increase our prosperity within the limits of our planet and close the loop so that there is no waste of our precious resources."

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.


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