In 2019, every living person in the European Union generated 34.4 kilograms of plastic waste, of which 14.1 kilograms (41%) was recycled, Eurostat, the European statistical office, said on Wednesday. The total volume of packaging waste generated in 2019 was 79.3 million tonnes, an increase of 2.4% in an intensive boost by glass and plastic. In 2019, around 177 kg of packaging waste was generated per capita in the EU, mainly cardboard and paper (40%). Plastic reflects 19% of waste, as does glass, while wood reflects 15% of packaging and metal 5%.
In ten years, the volume of plastic packaging waste generated per inhabitant of the EU has increased by 24% or 6.7 kilograms. The volume of recycled plastic waste increased by 50% between 2009 and 2019 (+ 4.7 kilos). The quantity of non-recycled plastic packaging has also grown by two kilos per inhabitant since 2009. In question: the increase in absolute value of the quantity of plastic packaging produced.
In 2019, around 41% of plastic waste was recycled in the EU. Nine Member States recycled more than half of the plastic packaging waste generated: Lithuania (70%), Czechia (61%), Bulgaria (59%, but the data is from 2018), the Netherlands (57% ), Sweden and Slovakia (53% each), Spain (52%), Cyprus (51%) and Slovenia (50%). The worst performers are Malta (11% recycled, but data is from 2018), France (27%), Ireland (28%), Austria (31%), (32%) and Hungary (33%).
While Belgium is just below the 50% mark for plastic packaging recycling, its performance is significantly better when all the packaging waste generated is taken into account, regardless of its material. The Flat Country is thus at the top of the ranking with more than 80% of the packaging waste generated by its inhabitants recycled.