Amount of waste recovered increases in 2020
Since 2004, the amount of waste recovered increased significantly (from 870 million tonnes in 2004 to 1 221 million tonnes in 2020). This means that the share of recovery in total waste treatment rose significantly (from 46% in 2004 to 60% in 2020; from 100 to 140 index points).
In contrast, the amount of waste for disposal decreased (from 1 027 million tonnes in 2004 to 808 million tonnes in 2020). This means that the share of disposal in total waste treatment decreased to less than half (from 54% in 2004 to 45% in 2020; from 100 to 79 index points).
In total, some 2 029 million tonnes of waste were treated in the EU in 2020. More than half (60%) was treated in recovery operations: recycling (39% of total treated waste), backfilling (15%) or energy recovery (6%). The remaining 40% was either landfilled (31%), incinerated without energy recovery (1%) or disposed of otherwise (8%).
Significant differences could be observed among the EU Member States regarding the use they made of these various treatment methods.
Very high recycling rates were recorded in Italy (83%), Belgium (74%), Slovakia and Latvia (both 64%). On the other hand, disposal via landfill and other was the prevailing treatment category for other countries: Romania (93% landfill, 5% recycling), Bulgaria (92% landfill, 8% recycling) and Finland (84% landfill – 10% recycling).