The United Kingdom and Italy tied for tenth place among the top-ranked municipal waste recyclers in Europe during 2015, figures published at the end of January by the European Union’s statistics body Eurostat suggest.
According to the figures, which are submitted on behalf of the EU’s 27 member states, as well as other European nations including Norway, Switzerland and Montenegro, the UK’s combined recycling and composting rate stood at 43.5% in 2015, down from 43.7% a year earlier.
Germany hung onto its spot at the top of the league table, with an overall recycling rate of 66.1% for 2015, a slight improvement on its previous performance, comfortably clear of the second top performing nation Austria, whose recycling rate stood at 56% for the year.
On average, EU member states recycled 45.2% of their municipal waste, the data suggests. Data outlining the amount of waste landfilled per country has yet to be published.
Compared to its 2014 ranking, the UK dropped one place, largely due to an apparent surge in recycling in Slovenia – which leapt from a 36% recycling rate in 2014 to 54.1% in 2015.
Elsewhere the data also offers a breakdown of waste generated and treated per person, suggesting that across the continent in 2015 around 477kg of municipal waste was generated per person, an increase from the 474kg recorded in 2014 – the first such rise since 2007. Despite this increase, waste generation per person is down by 9% compared with its peak of 527kg per person in 2002.