EU countries recycled 38% of its plastic packaging waste in 2020

38% of plastic packaging waste generated in the EU in 2020 was sent for recycling, according to new figures release by the European Commission.

During this year, each person living in the EU generated 34.6 kg of plastic packaging waste on average, according the figures, and of this, 13.0kg was recycled.

This information comes from data on packaging waste published by Eurostat this week.

Between 2010 and 2020, the volume of plastic packaging waste generated per inhabitant increased by 23% (+6.5 kg).

The recycled volume of plastic packaging waste increased over the same period, by 32% (+3.2 kg).

Despite this improvement, the amount of plastic packaging that wasn’t recycled increased by 3.4 kg per inhabitant since 2010 due to the greater increase in the absolute amount of plastic packaging waste generated.

In 2020, stricter rules for reporting recycling entered into force, according to the Commission. These include a harmonised calculation point for recycling and stricter accounting of composite packaging material fractions.

Because of this, the Commission says a provisional decrease of 3 percentage points was observed (from 41% in 2019 to an estimated 38% in 2020).

The Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovakia, Spain, Bulgaria and Cyprus recycled more than half of their plastic packaging waste generated.

In contrast, less than one-third of plastic packaging waste was recycled in Malta, France, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, Poland and Austria.

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