New data shows many countries are going to fail meeting the 50% target for recycling by 2020, according to an European Environment Agency (EEA) report. Recycling in the UK went up faster than most other countries in Europe, even though it started at a lower point back in 2001 when the goals were established. Recycling rates were around 12% for most of the municipal waste products, and has now increased to above 39%, which is close to the EU average, a greater increase than any other EU country, but still far short of the 50% target.
While it’s still possible to reach this goal, the European Environment Agency warned that many countries would likely not make it by 2020. Some of the biggest recycling nations include Austria, Belgium and Germany, which all recycle around half or more of their waste. But some are far behind, with Greece at 18%, up from 9% back in 2001. Romania for itself is still only at 1%, whereas some countries went backwards, like Norway going from 44% back to 42%, and Finland dropping from 34% to 33%.
Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA, published the numbers and said that some countries have been successful in getting into a culture of recycling, with enough incentives and infrastructure to enable people to do more recycling. However, other nations are lagging far behind, wasting huge quantities of waste which could be recycled.
Some of the causes pointed to as being the causes of such a change include a high need for materials in developing countries, along with economic issues that the countries may be under. The result is a lot of valuable resources are still going to landfills. As far as the UK goes, data shows it should be able to reach the 50% target by 2017, which means it will have no problem meeting the goal, assuming everything keeps going on the same trajectory.