Municipal Waste in the EU

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Wait don’t leave yet. I know the title doesn’t scream exciting, but if you’re like me, you want to know about how the city you live in handles waste disposal.  The EU’s statistics office, Eurstat, has released information for 2007 from throughout the EU27, about how municipalities handle waste, and I think it is very important to analyze these numbers and figure out what is good and what needs improvement as quickly as possible.  And if you don’t live in the EU, I still think it is of interest when it comes to learning what to and what NOT to do when it comes to handling a city’s garbage.

Lets start with the positive:

  • Germany has some impressive numbers, with only 1 percent of waste going to landfill, and 46% of waste being recycled and the rest going either to incineration or composting.
  • France has an interesting distribution of waste, 34% landfill, 36% incineration and the rest split fairly evenly between recycling and compost.
  • Austria is apparently really into composting, 38% of their waste.
  • Honorable mention to Italy, although they produce alot of garbage and they suck at recycling, they still manage to compost 33% of their waste.

On the negative side:

  • Overall municipalities in Denmark produce an insane amount of waste, 801 kg (1,766 lbs) per person in 2007.
  • Bulgaria shoves pretty much all their garbage into landfills.
  • Romanian cities recycled 1% of their waste in 2007.
  • Czech Republic, Poland, and Portugal are all pretty poor when it comes to recycling, less than 10% in 2007 for each of them. (they’re not alone but I’ll leave Lithuania and Malta alone for now)
  • Luxembourg just doesn’t recycle?!

I think being part of the EU should mean that all municipalities dedicate a slice of their city budget and resources to some form of recycling or composting, or simply devise campaigns to reduce the production of waste.  If they can’t handle it, Brussels should either help or there should be some form of punishment for unsustainably minded city managers.

Read it for yourself.