Generation of waste excluding major mineral wastes

  • Background: The indicator presents the amount of waste, excluding major mineral wastes, generated. It is therefore possible to monitor waste generation over time for the EU as a whole and to compare the development of waste generation across countries. The indicator covers hazardous and non-hazardous waste from all economic sectors and from households, including waste from waste treatment but excluding most mineral waste.
  • Indicator calculation: The indicator is calculated by converting tonnages into kilograms and then dividing by the number of inhabitants in the country. The indicator is based on data compiled according to the waste categories listed in Annex I to the Waste Statistics Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002). It covers all wastes except the following waste categories:
    • Mineral construction and demolition waste (EWC-Stat 12.1)
    • Other mineral waste (EWC-Stat 12.2 / 12.3 / 12.5)
    • Soils (EWC-Stat 12.6)
    • Dredging spoils (EWC-Stat 12.7)

Although completely or partly mineral, the indicator explicitly includes combustion wastes and solidified, stabilised and vitrified wastes.

  • DPSIR category: Pressure – this indicator has been classed as a pressure indicator as it describes trends in the release of substances (wastes) to the environment and/or use of resources and land.
  • Target / intended trend: EU waste policies aim to reduce the environmental and health impacts of waste and improve Europe's resource efficiency by preventing the generation of waste, therefore the intended trend is downwards. However, it is recognised that for some less developed countries waste generation per capita may increase in the short term as the economy develops, however, the aspirational longer term trend is still downwards.
  • Data source(s): Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), based on data from covered countries. The Member States are free to decide on the data collection methods. The general options are: surveys, administrative sources, statistical estimations or some combination of methods. The Member States describe the sources and methods in a quality report. A summary of the quality information at the European level is found in report to the European Parliament and to the Council: quality of waste statistics (COM (2014) 79).
  • Eurostat quality profile: You can access the quality profile of the indicator as well as the Eurostat quality grading system within the metadata file (please see above).

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Landfill rate of waste excluding major mineral wastes

  • Background: Landfilled waste represents an enormous loss of resources in the form of both materials and energy. Moreover, the landfilling of waste can have serious impacts on the environment, in terms of localised pollution from leachate and global emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (from anaerobic digestion of the organic materials). A resource efficient economy is therefore one which minimises the requirement for landfilling to the extent possible. As a consequence this indicator monitors the landfill rate over time for the EU as a whole, and compares the development of the landfill rate across countries.
  • Indicator calculation: For this indicator the quantity of waste landfilled is divided by the waste treated in the same year and displayed in percent. The indicator is based on data compiled according to the waste categories listed in Annex I to the Waste Statistics Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002). It covers hazardous and non-hazardous waste from all economic sectors and from households, including waste from waste treatment (secondary waste) but excluding the following waste categories:
    • Mineral construction and demolition waste (EWC-Stat 12.1)
    • Other mineral waste (EWC-Stat 12.2 / 12.3 / 12.5),
    • Soils (EWC-Stat 12.6)
    • Dredging spoils (EWC-Stat 12.7)

The focus mainly on non-mineral wastes is considered to reflect the general trend in landfill rate more accurately, and in a more comparable way, than when including mineral wastes as mineral wastes account for high quantities in some countries due to economic activities such as mining and construction.

  • DPSIR category: Pressure – this indicator has been classed as a pressure indicator as landfilling both releases harmful substances into the environment, and creates further pressure on resources and land.
  • Target / intended trend: There are no specific EU targets on the rate of landfilling. Nevertheless, the desired trend in the rate of landfilling is downwards. As there can be sound reasons not to recycle or incinerate certain materials (e.g. hazardous waste), landfill may still be necessary for a small proportion of material. Therefore the target is not to reduce landfilling to zero but only reduce it to a reasonable extent. This aligns with the waste hierarchy established in the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC).
  • Data source(s): Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) based on data from covered countries. Obligation through the Waste Statistics Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002).
  • Eurostat quality profile: You can access the quality profile of the indicator as well as the Eurostat quality grading system within the metadata file (please see above).

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Recycling rate of municipal waste

  • Background: Recycling includes material recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion. These processes have many benefits versus landfilling or incineration, including offsetting primary production of materials, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower priced secondary materials, production of compost and generation of energy (the latter through anaerobic digestion plants). In addition, for most European countries an improvement in the national recycling rate is a political goal.
  • Indicator calculation: The recycling rate is the tonnage recycled from municipal waste divided by the total municipal waste generated in the same year, displayed in percent.
  • DPSIR category: Response – this indicator is classified as a response because it reflects the societal and governmental response (a policy to set recycling targets) to reduce the environmental impacts of waste management.
  • Target / intended trend: Directive 2008/98/EC on waste established the following target in Article 11(2): "for the preparing for re-use and the recycling of waste materials such as at least paper, metal, plastic and glass from households and possibly from other origins as far as these waste streams are similar to waste from households, shall be increased to a minimum of overall 50% by weight". Therefore the intended trend in recycling rate is upwards (although for economic and technical reasons the long term goal might be below 100%).
  • Data source(s): Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), based on data from covered countries.
  • Eurostat quality profile: You can access the quality profile of the indicator as well as the Eurostat quality grading system within the metadata file (please see above).

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Recycling rate of e-waste

  • Background: Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) poses a risk to the environment due to the presence of hazardous components, however, if recycled it has the potential to provide a source of important secondary raw materials, such as precious metals and other highly valuable materials. Therefore this indicator tracks the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste).
  • Indicator calculation: The data collected under the WEEE-Directive 2012/19/EU includes volumes collected for treatment and the rate of recycling at the treatment facilities. The collection rate equals the volumes collected divided by the average sum of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market in the previous three years. The overall e-waste recycling rate, therefore, is the collection rate multiplied by the rate of recycling at the treatment facilities, and it is assumed that the total amount of collected e-waste is indeed sent to treatment / recycling facilities.
  • DPSIR category: Response – this indicator is classified as a response because it reflects the societal and governmental response (a policy to set recycling targets) to reduce the environmental impacts of waste management.
  • Target / intended trend: The WEEE Directive sets a minimum collection target of 4 kilograms WEEE on average per year and per inhabitant from households, by the end of 2015. From 2016, the minimum collection rate shall be 45% and from 2019 the minimum collection rate to be achieved annually shall be 65% of the average weight of EEE placed on the market in the three preceding years in the Member State concerned, or alternatively 85% of WEEE generated on the territory of that Member State. The intended trend therefore is upwards.
  • Data source(s): Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), based on data from covered countries. Reporting obligation from the WEEE Directive.
  • Eurostat quality profile: You can access the quality profile of the indicator as well as the Eurostat quality grading system within the metadata file (please see above).

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