Resource efficiency and waste

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The global environmental problems we face today are largely the result of human overexploitation of natural resources, including (fossil) fuels, minerals, water, land and biodiversity. It has become increasingly clear that Europe's prevailing model of economic development — based on high resource use, waste generation and pollution — cannot be sustained in the long term. Today, the European Union (EU) is heavily reliant on imports and we need twice the total land area of the EU to meet our resource demands. Many of the resources are only in use for a short period of time, or they are lost to the economy through being landfilled or downcycled (involving a decrease of quality during recovery operations). More

Key facts and messages
The number of countries recycling and composting more than 30% of municipal waste increased from 11 to 17 out of 35, and those landfilling more than 75% of their municipal waste declined from 11 to 8. more
Generation of municipal waste per capita has declined slightly from 2004 to 2012, but it is clearly better managed now than ten years ago. more
The large differences in performance indicate room for further improvement and actions to meet the 2020 target to recycle 50% of municipal waste. more
Guided by diverse policies, European countries have improved waste management. Manufacturing and service sector waste declined by about a quarter in 2004–2012, while municipal waste generation fell 2%. Along with increased recycling, these... more

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100