EU report calls for mandatory separate collections across the EU Member States

Container (Graphics: Eco Baltia)

Brussels – Separate collection of individual waste fractions is seen as a pre-condition for fostering high quality recycling and high recycling rates. Thus, Article 10(2) of the Waste Framework Directive sets the general requirement of separate collection and obliges the Member States to set up separate collection systems for at least paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015. There is a wide variety of ways to collect different waste streams, and experience shows that practical implementation of the obligations differs significantly across 28 EU Member States. The EU commission now has published a new study on „Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU“.

The study covers all separate collection systems that collect one or more of the five waste streams separately from residual waste/mixed municipal waste at source. This includes strict separation and co-mingled collection systems, door-to-door, bring-point collection and other systemsand focuses on the priority waste streams like metal, plastic, glass and paper, plus bio-waste. It includes an assessment of the legal framework for and the practical implementation of separate collection systems in the EU-28 MS, together with an in depth-analysis of systems applied in EU-28 capital cities.

As regards the collected recyclables and bio-waste, this means:

  • Paper/cardboard is mainly collected within door-to-door systems (18 MS, four of them co-mingled with two or three other recyclable fractions); while ten MS rely mainly on bring-points.
  • Glass is mainly collected within bring systems (18 MS); ten MS apply door-to-door systems for glass, of which three co-mingle glass with two or three other recyclable fraction.
  • Plastic is collected within door-to-door systems in 18 countries, of which only four collect plastic as a separate fraction; all others apply co-mingling with one (metal), two or three other fractions. Six MS collect plastic (five together with metals) via bring-points. Four MS (CZ, FI, EE, SK) do not currently collect plastic separately from residual waste within main collection system, however this might be possible in civic amenity sites.
  • Metal is collected within door-to-door systems by 17 MS. Three MS collect metal separately, nine collect metal together with plastic and further five MS co-mingle metal with additional fractions. For eight MS, bring points are the primary collection point for metal (five MS together with plastic in one container). Three MS collect metal only at civic amenities (CZ, LV, SK).
  • Bio-waste including food waste is separately collected door-to-door in 13 MS, and a further two MS have door-to-door collection systems for garden waste only. Twelve MS do not collect bio- waste separately in their primary collection system.

The paper recomments the introduction of mandatory separate collection systems for certain municipal waste fractions, e.g. waste paper, in addition to packaging waste, or mandatory separate collection of bio-waste. This usually results in high municipal waste recycling levels. Fractions that are separate collected are usually send to recovery operations, in particular to recycling.

The full report on „Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU“ can be downloaded under

Source: EU Commission / Copenhagen Resource Institute