Ireland joint third for recycling within the EU

Ireland is now joint third for recycling within the EU, and joint fourth among 36 countries across the wider European continent, according to new figures from Eurostat.

While 28pc of waste across the EU was recycled in 2013, the proportion rose to 34pc for Ireland. Slovenia was top for recycling with 55pc of all the country’s municipal waste treated in this way, followed by Germany with 47pc.

Ireland is, however, above the EU average in terms of sending waste to landfill, with 42pc of all waste treated this way. In the EU overall, the figure is 31pc. 

Just 6pc of Ireland’s municipal waste was composted in 2013, while 18pc was incinerated. This compares to the EU average of 15pc composted and 26pc incinerated. 

“Twenty years ago just 7.8pc of municipal waste was recycled or recovered, but a commitment by Ireland’s householders to recycling and greater environmental awareness means we have made huge gains since then,” said Kieran Mullins, chairman of the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA). “Everyone in Ireland should be very proud of these achievements”.

While the Eurostat figures indicate that 58pc of all municipal waste generated by Irish consumers was recovered and diverted from landfill in 2013, the IWMA believes that the current figure is closer to 80pc, reflecting the increased number of segregated waste bins and the increased investment in waste recovery infrastructure by the private sector waste management companies.

“An additional 150,000 brown bins have been rolled out to households in Ireland since 2012 by IWMA member firms bringing to nearly 50pc the number of households with a bin service who are now able to dispose of food and organic waste in a brown bin,” said Mullins. “Increased composting by householders is also contributing to the improvement in recycling and recovery.”

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