Personal tools


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sound and independent information
on the environment

You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Municipal waste generation / Municipal waste generation (CSI 016/WST 001) - Assessment DRAFT created Jan 2013

Municipal waste generation (CSI 016/WST 001) - Assessment DRAFT created Jan 2013

Indicator Assessmentexpired Created 31 Oct 2012 Published 11 Jan 2013 Last modified 16 Feb 2015, 11:14 AM

This item is open for comments. See the comments section below

This content has been archived on 16 Feb 2015, reason: No more updates will be done

This indicator is discontinued because data availability does not fully meet the requirements for EEA indicators.

This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.

Generic metadata


Waste and material resources Waste and material resources (Primary topic)

Household consumption Household consumption

Green economy Green economy

soer2010 | waste | municipal waste generation
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 016
  • WST 001
Temporal coverage:
Geographic coverage:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYR), Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Specific policy question: Answer to unknown question

Municipal waste generation per capita in Europe

Note: Data for Greece for the year 1995 is missing. Data from the West Balkan countries are available from 2003 onwards. Specifically, data for Albania are available for the period 2003-2009, Croatia for 2004-2011, Serbia for 2006-2011, Montenegro only for the year 2009, Kosovo (under UNCR 1244/99) for the period 2007-2009.

Data source:
  • Municipal waste provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

The recent EU policy instruments and strategies, such as the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) and the 6th Environmental Action Programme (EAP) prioritise waste prevention and decoupling of waste generation and its environmental impacts from economic growth. In the European Union, a relative decoupling from economic growth has already been achieved since the stabilization of MSW generation trend after 2000 which does not follow the simultaneous increase in the GDP. Contrary to the EU, municipal waste generation in the West Balkan region has been steadily increasing since 2003, going up to 374 kg/cap on average in 2011, exceeding the average 347 kg/capita in the EU-12. Waste generation has closely followed the region’s upward trend in GDP, attributed to the rapid economic expansion, provoked by the adoption of free market economies in the countries of the region, but it is also assumed that the data collection methods have resulted in higher figures.

Municipal waste generation rates in the EU-12,Turkeyand the West Balkan countries are on average lower than in EU-15 and EFTA countries. In the EU-12, average generation appears to have remained relatively stable since the mid-nineties (although trends in individual countries are quite variable). This apparent stability in average generation has occurred during a period with strong economic growth as well as growth of consumption expenditure in the EU-12 Member States. 

The stabilisation of waste generation in the EU might have a number of explanations. The causes of absolute decoupling in municipal waste generation per capita in EU-12 are not fully clear yet. Several countries of the region have reported that apparent decoupling in their MSW generation may partially be caused by changes in measurement methods. Weighing of waste deliveries at landfills has been gradually introduced in some EU-12 countries over the past decade. Previously the amounts were estimated according to volume. Since amounts of lightweight waste (e.g. packaging) are growing and amounts of heavy fractions (e.g. ash and slag) are decreasing, individual landfills might have overestimated weight of municipal waste in the previous years based on older waste composition data. Another reason is the initiatives taken by some countries (mostly in EU-15) in the field of waste prevention. The actions are still limited, but some signs of effective prevention can already be observed.

Other trends, such as those in consumption patterns and waste collection methods (e.g. limited collection of bulky waste), might also have played a role. Reporting systems need further development, especially regarding the definition of municipal/non-municipal waste in some streams e.g. waste from small enterprises and services, bulky waste and packaging waste.

Furthermore, there are notable differences among countries both in the trend of waste generation and its size. In the EU-27, the annual generation per capita varies from 298 kg in Estonia up to 718 kg in Denmark in 2011. On the other hand, some countries have achieved a stabilisation of waste generation or even a reduction (e.g. Ireland, Sweden, UK) while others follow a constant increase (e.g. Portugal, Cyprus). Therefore, there is a lot of room for improvement if the successful policies and measures applied in some countries become widespread across Europe. 

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

User not found: bogdajas


EEA Management Plan

2012 2.5.3 (note: EEA internal system)


Frequency of updates

This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.


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