Greece and Cyprus generated more than half a ton of municipal waste per person according to the latest data published by Eurostat at 525 kg and 609 kg for 2020.
The European average of 505 kg of waste generated per person in 2020 is 4 kg per person more than in 2019 and 38 kg more than in 1995. In total, the EU generated 225.7 million tonnes of waste municipalities in 2020, an increase of 1%. compared to 2019 (+1.8 million tonnes) and +14% compared to 1995 (+27.7 million tonnes).
The generation of municipal waste varied considerably between EU Member States. In 2020, Denmark and Luxembourg were the largest producers of municipal waste, with 845 kg and 790 kg per capita respectively, followed by Malta (643 kg) and Germany (632 kg).
Romania (287 kg), Poland (346 kg) and Hungary (364 kg) lead in terms of recording the lowest municipal waste generation per person this year.
Compared to 1995, only seven Member States generated less municipal waste per person in 2020: Bulgaria (-36%), Hungary (-21%), Slovenia (-18%), Romania (-16% ), Spain (-10%), Belgium (-9%) and the Netherlands (-1%).
Variations between countries reflect differences in consumption patterns and economic wealth, as well as differences in the collection and management of municipal waste.
Countries differ in the amount of commercial, trade and administrative waste collected and managed together with household waste.
67 million tonnes of municipal waste recycled in 2020
The amount of waste recycled remained stable in 2020. Material recycling fell to 67 million tonnes from 68 million tonnes in 2019, corresponding to 151 kg per person (as in 2019). Compared to 1995, this means that people in the EU recycled 44 million tonnes (97 kg per inhabitant) more than in 1995.
Composting is also a recycling operation. 40 million tonnes (90 kg per person) of waste were composted in 2020, i.e. almost three times more than in 1995 (14 million tonnes, i.e. 33 kg per person).
Although the EU is producing more waste, the total amount of municipal waste going to landfill has decreased. In 2020, total municipal waste sent to landfill fell from 121 million tonnes in 1995 to 52 million tonnes (-58%). This corresponds to an average annualized decline of 4%.