Waste Prevention

The overall quantity of waste is increasing rapidly on a worldwide scale. In the EU around 3.5 tonnes per capita of waste is produced annually, including more than 400kg per person per year of domestic waste. All the projections available today tend to show that this increase at worldwide level will continue at least until 2030 and in Europe no real decoupling between waste and economic growth is expected before 2020, even if this is already happening in some EU countries.

There are many negative impacts of waste. The spread of hazardous substances contained in discarded goods present significant risk for human health and the environment, while the production of throwaway goods are contributing massively to climate change.

Rather than being sent to landfill or incinerated, the circular economy ensures that organic waste such as food is composted, returning nutrients to the soil and thereby helping to naturally improve food production.

The EEB believes that waste prevention is priority, with recycling the answer when prevention is not possible. To make this approach most effective, waste prevention needs to be addressed at the design stage of products and all along the consumption chain – from purchasing to discarding.

Prevention and recycling could together save EU citizens billions of euros and contribute to fighting climate change, reducing our impacts on land and biodiversity and providing job opportunities.

Rethinking Plastic

2018 should be remembered as the year civil society stood up to counter the irreversible consequences of plastic pollution in our environment.

Once known as an innovative material, plastic has become the symbol of our throw-away society and has been linked to several major problems including marine litter and the collapse of entire ecosystems.

In January 2018, all eyes were on the European Commission when it released Europe’s first-ever strategy targeting single-use plastic items and vowed to make all plastic packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030.

The EEB, along with other members of the Rethink Plastic Alliance, will be at the forefront of the fight against plastic pollution in the coming months.

Where do EU countries stand?

EU institutions and member states  agreed in December 2017 to set more ambitious waste laws and recycling targets to be met by in the coming years.

Check out our interactive map to find out whether your country was “a leader or a laggard” during the negotiations, and what measures have been agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

560000 jobs

could be created by increasing recycling

less than 50 %

of waste is recycled in the EU

Waste and Recycling

Fact Sheets
Letter to European Commission on monitoring requirements in EU POP Regulation and waste incineration - 2019
17 April, 2019
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Letter to European Commission on BAT for waste incineration - 2019
17 April, 2019
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Letter to European Council on recycled content in beverage bottles
21 November, 2018
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Response to CEWEP-ESWET-FEAD comments on EEB report 'Wasted Opportunity'
25 April, 2018
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Report on EU environmental standards for waste incineration
17 April, 2018
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Report on global recycling rates
11 December, 2017
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Position paper on food waste
20 July, 2017
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Letter to the European Commission on plastic pollution
13 July, 2017
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Position paper on the importance of the waste hierarchy
14 June, 2017
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Letter to Commissioner Karmenu Vella on beverage packaging
16 May, 2017
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Letter to the Environment Council on recycling targets
12 May, 2017
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Response to consultation on the EU waste markets
11 May, 2017
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Report on municipal waste performance contracts
11 May, 2017
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Letter to European Commission on toxic recycling policies
11 May, 2017
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Waste Performance Contracts - a Case Study
11 May, 2017
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Report on Waste Performance Contracts - an Executive Summary
11 May, 2017
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EEB letter to Commission on new waste proposal
11 May, 2017
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Factsheet on reducing food waste
31 March, 2017
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Report on indicators and waste policy scenarios in Europe
31 March, 2017
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Report on how to protect the Circular Economy from hazardous substances
31 March, 2017
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