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Drop in European landfill reported

The amount of household waste being sent to landfill across Europe has dropped by 15 percentage points in 10 years, according to latest figures.

A report from the European Environment Agency on municipal waste management across European countries says the proportion going to landfill in 32 European countries fell from 49% in 2004 to 34% in 2014.

Overall, landfilling decreased in 27 out of 32 countries, with virtually no municipal waste now sent to landfill in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The countries comprise the 28 EU member states, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

Total municipal waste generation declined by 3% and the average generated per person dropped by 7% from 2004 to 2014, although there has not been a uniform trend across countries.

Countries achieved an average total recycling rate of 33% in 2014 compared with 23% in 2004, with Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden recycling at least half of their municipal waste.

Overall, in 15 out of 32 countries, the increase in recycling rates was at least 10 percentage points over the 2004-14 period. Increased recycling rates and declining rates of landfilling are clearly linked, the analysis says.

However, the report adds that the outlook for reaching the EU’s 50% recycling target for municipal waste by 2020 is mixed and many countries will have to step up their efforts.

Member states can choose between four methods to monitor their progress, and the data in the report uses the same method for all countries.

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