In 2014, each citizen EU generated roughly 475kg of municipal waste per head, with around 44% recycled or composted, latest data issued by European stats body Eurostat has revealed.
The figure is down by 10% compared with the peak of 527kg per person seen in 2002, Eurostat claims.
The UK generated roughly 482kg of municipal waste per person in 2014, ranking joint 12th with Finland out of the 28 EU member states for waste generation. Waste generated per person was highest in Denmark, Cyprus, Germany and Luxembourg.
The figures, published last week, also confirm that there has been a steady increase in municipal waste recycled or composted across the EU increasing from 17% in 1995 to 44% in 2014.
The UK is just ahead of the EU-wide average, having recorded a 45% recycling and composting rate for the year.
However, as provisional figures published by Defra last week show, household recycling in England had dropped by 0.7% up to June 2015 resulting in a current recycling rate of 44.3%. Alongside a slowing 56.2% recycling and composting rate for Wales, it is feared that the UK is currently set to miss the EU target of at least 50% recycling of household waste by 2020.
Speaking last week, Suez chief executive David Palmer-Jones stated that the latest figures show any chances of achieving the EU recycling target of 50% are receding “even further into the distance” (see letsrecycle.com story).
Despite this UK downturn, recycling across the EU has increased at an annual average rate of 5.2% from 25 million tonnes in 1995 to 66 million tonnes in 2014.
Elsewhere, total municipal waste landfilled in the EU decreased by as much as 5.6% per year on average from 2004-2014 despite more waste being generated in the EU in 2004 compared to 1995. Figures show municipal waste to landfill fell 54% from 144 million tonnes in 1995 to 66 million tonnes in 2014.