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Ireland dramatically improves its recycling rates

Ireland was singled out for praise in a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Rubbish bins in Monaghan.
Rubbish bins in Monaghan.
Image: Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

IRELAND HAS RAISED its recycling rate from 11 per cent to 36 per cent in just nine years, according to the EEA.

The latest figures (from 2010) show that Ireland and the UK had the fastest increases in the decade. Ireland, along with Norway and Poland, also reduced the greatest proportion of waste going to landfill.

Austria, Germany and Belgium recycled the largest proportion of municipal waste in 2010.

The EEA says that although many countries have rapidly improved, Europe is still wasting vast quantities of valuable resources by sending them to landfill.

Some nations are still at risk of falling short of legally-binding recycling targets. By 2020, all countries are expected to meet EU-mandated targets of 50 per cent. Just five countries have achieved that target so far:

  • Austria – 63 per cent
  • Germany – 62 per cent
  • Belgium – 58 per cent
  • The Netherlands – 51 per cent
  • Switzerland – 51 per cent

Overall, 35 per cent of waste was recycled in 2010, up from 23 per cent in 2001.

“In a relatively short time, some countries have successfully encouraged a culture of recycling, with infrastructure, incentives and public awareness campaigns,” said EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade.

“But others are still lagging behind, wasting huge volumes of resources. The current intense demand for some materials should alert countries to the clear economic opportunities in recycling.”

Download the full report here>

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