Waste is an issue that affects the whole European Union. According to the European Commission, altogether, the EU produces up to 3 billion tonnes of waste every year. On average, each of the 500 million people living in the EU throws away around half a tonne of household rubbish every year.

This is on top of huge amounts of waste generated from activities such as manufacturing (360 million tonnes) and construction (900 million tonnes), while water supply and energy production generate another 95 million tonnes.

The Commission stressed that this waste has a huge impact on the environment, causing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, as well as significant losses of materials – a particular problem for the EU which is highly dependent on imported raw materials.

Although the management of that waste continues to improve in the EU, the European economy currently still loses a significant amount of potential “secondary raw materials” such as metals, wood, glass, paper, plastics present waste streams, the Commission said.


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