Malta ranks worst in recycling in the EU

A report from the European Commission has looked at all EU member states and released an "early warning" to the 14 countries considered at greatest risk of missing the EU’s 2020 recycling target for municipal waste with Malta being in the top spot

An EU report has listed Malta in the top spot for the countries that recycle the least amount of waste in the EU. The report looked at all EU member states and their recycling procedures and has concluded that Malta is the worst of all.

The worst four countries are Malta, Romania, Greece and Cyprus. In 2016, all four recycled less than 20% of their total waste. With the EU’s 2020 recycling target set at 50% of total waste, these four countries and their 10 counterparts have some catching-up to do. None currently reaches the target, but the situation is more dire in some places than others.

The situation is most desperate in Malta with a recycling rate of just 7%. 83% of Malta's waste goes straight to landfills. Just behind Malta, Romania recycles 13% of its waste, Greece and Cyprus recycle 17%. This means that Malta is behind by a significant margin.

On the other hand, Poland is the “best” of Europe’s bad recyclers: it recycles 44% of its rubbish and “only” 36% goes to landfills. This recycling rate is just 6% off from the EU’s 50% target, with the lowest landfilling rate of the 14 countries. Finland, which recycles 42% of its waste, is also not far off.

“Each country deals with its residual municipal waste in different ways – it can be incinerated or sent to landfill, among other options,” Adrian Gibbs, principal consultant at Eunomia, the consultancy firm that worked the report, explained.

He said that none of the countries on the report are set to hit the EU recycling targets for 2020 as things stand.

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