Figures released by Eurostat have revealed the enormous gulf between countries in the western and eastern halves of the European Union when it comes to recycling. Germany is leading the way, recycling 62 percent of its waste, incinerating 37 percent and landfilling just one percent.
The Netherlands comes a close second with the same level of landfill and 61 and 38 percent levels of recycling and incineration respectively. Belgium rounds off the top three, recycling 56 percent of its waste.
Sweden, which has been making headlines recently regarding the efficiency of its waste to energy programme, comes fourth. Even though the figures show Sweden as landfilling one percent of its waste, it has emerged that the country is actually importing 800,000 tons of rubbish to power its waste to energy plants – burned waste powers approximately 250,000 Swedish homes.
Unfortunately, Sweden’s excellent example shows no signs of being repeated in Eastern Europe where the level of landfill rises dramatically. Croatia, the EU’s newest member, is the fourth worst offender for recycling - 92 percent of Croatian trash ends up in landfill, while eight percent is recycled.
Bulgaria is second last with 94 percent of waste going to landfill, with just six percent recycled. Romania is firmly rooted to the bottom of the table. Unbelievably, Romanians recycle just one percent of the country’s rubbish. The other 99 percent ends up in landfill.