Municipal waste by waste management operations (env_wasmun)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

L-2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 11/10/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 11/10/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 11/10/2017

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Municipal waste is mainly produced by households, similar wastes from sources such as commerce, offices and public institutions are included.

The amount of municipal waste generated consists of waste collected by or on behalf of municipal authorities and disposed of through the waste management system. The amount of municipal waste treatment is reported for the treatment operations incineration (with and without energy recovery), recycling, composting and landfilling. Data are available in thousand tonnes and kilograms per person. Wastes from agriculture and from industries are not included. For further detail on the definition please refer to section 3.4.

The Sustainable Development Indicator on municipal waste is expressed in kilograms per person.

3.2. Classification system

Municipal waste is classified by waste generation and by the treatment operations:

GEN                      Total waste generation

TRT                       Total waste treatment

DSP_L                   Landfill / disposal (D1-D7, D12)

INC_RCV              Total incineration (including energy recovery)(INC + RCV_E)

INC                        Incineration / disposal (D10)

RCV_E                   Incineration / energy recovery (R1)

RCY_M                   Material recycling

RCY_OC                Composting and digestion

The classification follows the definitions for the OECD/Eurostat Joint Questionnaire, section waste, (see section 3.4 of this document and guidance document Municipal Waste).

3.3. Coverage - sector

Municipal waste is mainly produced by households, similar wastes from sources such as commerce, offices and public institutions are included.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The base information is the amount of municipal waste generated and treated per year. The amount of municipal waste generated consists of household and similar waste collected by or on behalf of municipal authorities. For areas not covered by a municipal waste collection scheme the reporting countries estimate the amount of waste generated.

The term 'municipal' is used in different ways in the separate countries reflecting different waste management practices. The bulk of the waste stream originates from households, similar wastes from sources such as commerce, offices and public institutions are also included. Differences between countries are to some extent the result of differences in the coverage of these similar wastes.

According to the OECD/Eurostat Joint Questionnaire municipal waste includes the following types of materials: paper, paperboard and paper products, plastics, glass, metals, food and garden waste and textiles. 

The definition also includes:

  • bulky waste (e.g. white goods, old furniture, mattresses); and
  • garden waste, leaves, grass clippings, street sweepings, the content of litter containers, and market cleansing waste, if managed as waste.

It includes waste originating from:

  • households,
  • commerce and trade, small businesses, office buildings and institutions (schools, hospitals, government buildings).

It also includes:

  • waste from selected municipal services, i.e. waste from park and garden maintenance, waste from street cleaning services (street sweepings, the content of litter containers, market cleansing waste), if managed as waste.


It includes collected waste from these sources:

  • door-to-door through traditional collection (mixed household waste), and
  • fractions collected separately for recovery operations (through door-to-door collection and/or through voluntary deposits).

For the purpose of this questionnaire, municipal waste refers to waste defined as above, collected by or on behalf of municipalities.

The definition also includes waste from the same sources and similar in nature and composition which:

  • are collected directly by the private sector (business or private non-profit institutions) not on behalf of municipalities (mainly separate collection for recovery purposes),
  • originate from rural areas not served by a regular waste service, even if they are disposed by the generator.


The definition excludes:

  • waste from municipal sewage network and treatment,
  • municipal construction and demolition waste.


Incineration means thermal treatment of waste in an incineration plant as defined in Article 3(4) or a co-incineration plant as defined in Article 3(5) of European Parliament and Council Directive 2000/76/EC of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste. OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, p.91.

Energy recovery is defined as the incineration that fulfils the energy efficiency criteria laid down in the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC), Annex II (recovery operation R1).

Recycling means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations. (Waste Framework Directive, 2008/98/EC).

Composting and anaerobic digestion are processes of biological decomposition of biodegradable waste under controlled aerobic (composting) or anaerobic conditions. It may be classified as recycling when compost (or digestate) is used on land or for the production of growing media. (Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union, COM(2008) 811 final).

Landfill is defined as deposit of waste into or onto land; it includes specially engineered landfills and temporary storage of over one year on permanent sites. The definition covers both landfill in internal sites (i.e. where a generator of waste is carrying out its own waste disposal at the place of generation) and in external sites.

3.5. Statistical unit

Reporting units may be legal units (waste collectors, waste treatment facilities etc.) or institutions (e.g. communities or cities).

Observation units are units of weight of waste and units of weight per capita.

3.6. Statistical population

All municipal waste generated or treated in the country during the year.

3.7. Reference area

Data are published for the European Union as well as for each Member State separately. The European Union is presented in its current composition (EU-28) and EU-27, as data from Croatia are complete only from 2007 on. The publication also contains data for EU-Candidate Countries and EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) as well as some Balkan Countries. The series cover the period from 1995 to 2018.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data on municipal waste generation, collection and treatment are published for the period from 1995 onwards.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Thousands of tonnes, kg per capita (based on annual average population).

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period is the calendar year.

For the amount of municipal waste generated the data refer to the handover over the waste to the waste collector or to a disposal site. For the amounts of waste treated the data refer to the date of treatment. For landfills the date of arrival is regarded as the date of treatment.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Data on municipal waste are collected via a subset of the Eurostat / OECD Joint Questionnaire. Data are provided under a so-called gentlemen's agreement.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

The data is made available to the OECD.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

There is no release calendar, data dissemination is explained in item 9 below.

8.2. Release calendar access

See Eurostat website, release calendar, data releases

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Data received in November, 10 months after the end of the reference period (T+10 months; where T = reference year), will be published two months later T+12 months). An update of the dataset is done in March (T+14 months) and June (T+17) of the following year.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release


News releases on-line

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Free publications: on line

Statistics Explained: online

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Municipal Waste in the Eurostat dissemination database

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable (Eurostat collects the data from the Member States at an aggregate level).

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Statistics Explained

10.6. Documentation on methodology

For a detailled description see Guidance on municipal Waste data collection

10.7. Quality management - documentation

The Member States describe the sources and methods in a quality report.  A summary of these are to be found in the country specific notes.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The quality assurance is a joint responsibility of the Member States and Eurostat. The Member States conduct the data collection and describe their sources and methods in a quality report. Eurostat can make comparisons over the countries and will discuss the issue of comparability with the countries. Concepts, classifications and formats are agreed between Eurostat and the Member States, the countries remain free to choose the sources and collection methods that fit them best.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

See 11.1.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The data is used in the Sustainable Development Indicators set and in the Resource Efficiency Scoreboard.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

No systematic user satisfaction survey was conducted. Eurostat is in regular contact with the main users inside the Commission and with EEA

12.3. Completeness

The data sets have a high level of completeness. A few data cells are missing because no proper data sources were available at that time.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

See the quality profile (11.1).

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Due to the freedom of the countries to choose their methods the non-sampling errors are difficult to summarise at the European level. The data quality gradually improved over time due to the installation of weighbridges in the treatment facilities.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The delay between reference period and the publication of the indicator is about a year.

14.2. Punctuality

The Member States usually to deliver the data within nine months after the end of the reference period. Most countries do respect this deadline, some countries deliver with a small delay. In a few cases the delay is over two months. In such cases Eurostat will propose an estimation of the country data to be able to produce European totals.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The concept of municipal waste includes different waste streams in different municipalities. Especially, the extent to which waste generated by offices and small businesses are included differs from municipality to municipality. Thus, different levels of municipal waste generation can reflect different coverage of the generation of waste, but also differences in the organisation of municipal waste management.

15.2. Comparability - over time

The data is comparable over time unless otherwise stated. A break in series flag will be applied to indicate significant changes in methods.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Municipal waste is only a part of total waste generation; other sources of waste generation are for instance agriculture and industry. Part of the waste generated by the service sector of the economy (e.g. trade, services, restaurants, schools, hospitals) is included in municipal waste. Municipal waste generation data is thus not comparable with the waste collected from households as displaid in Waste Statisticss regulation data.

Waste statistics covering all waste generation from production and consumption activities based on the Regulation on waste statistics are freely available on the Eurostat website:

15.4. Coherence - internal

The reported quantities of waste generated and treated do not match exactly for some Member States, for the following reasons: estimates for the population not covered by collection schemes, weight losses due to dehydration, double counts of waste undergoing two or more treatment steps, exports and imports of waste and time lags between generation and treatment (temporary storage).

16. Cost and Burden Top

The collection of this information has been integrated into administrative procedures and will in general not produce much extra costs or burden.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

All data are supposed to be final unless indicated as provisional. Correction of errors is possible.

17.2. Data revision - practice

The published data shall be regarded as final, unless otherwise stated. Corrections and revisions might occur. Important corrections will be explained in the summary methodology.

Major changes in the methods will be mainly the result of technical progress in waste treatment and be explained in the guidance document.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

National Statistical Institutes (or other competent authorities like Ministries of Environment or Environmental Protection Agencies) collect data from various sources:

  • Surveys
  • Administrative sources such as municipalities or other local authorities (provinces, regions, etc.), waste collectors at municipal/local level, waste treatment facilities
  • Reporting obligations under other Community Legislation, statistical estimation procedures on the basis of samples or waste related estimators
  • A combination of these methods.

Member States select the type of survey according to national waste management practices, either at the source of waste generation, at the place waste treatment or at both sides.

18.2. Frequency of data collection


18.3. Data collection

National Statistical Institutes (or other competent authorities like Ministries of Environment or Environmental Protection Agencies) complete a small questionnaire on municipal waste. This questionnaire contains data collected in the previous year for publication and in previous years for update and correction.

18.4. Data validation

Data validation is done by Eurostat in close cooperation with Member States' competent Authorities.

Certain data format checks are carried out during the data entry into the webform. The validation routines at Eurostat include checks related to consistency, plausibility, development over time and clarification requests are sent to countries in case of observations.

Methodology reports from countries are consulted during the validation process. In case of revision of data the Member State transmit a new web-form.

18.5. Data compilation

The European aggregates are calculated by adding up the national waste amounts. EU aggregates are compiled when the available countries represent 60% of the population and 55% of the number of countries defining the aggregate; data for missing countries are estimated on the basis of the previous year.

For the calculation of kilogram per capita the national amounts of waste generated and treated are divided by the average population of the relevant year.

The average population for the calculation of kg per capita is taken from the table "Demographic balance and crude rates" (demo_gind, indic_de=AVG) in Eurobase.

18.6. Adjustment

The data are not adjusted; they are rounded to thousands of tonnes, or kilograms per person respectively.

19. Comment Top

Next to the municipal waste data two other data collections on waste have to be mentioned. One is data on the generation and treatment of waste collected in the framework of the Regulation on waste statistics according to the Waste Statistics Regulation. For this data a time series exists with annual data from 2004 onwards. For the comparability with the concept of waste generated by households see point 15.3 Coherence across domains.

The other collection of waste data concerns information for the monitoring of the effectiveness of certain waste Directives (for instance on packaging waste, end-of-life vehicles and electronic waste).

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top