Waste Not Want Not: These Are The Most Wasteful Countries in Europe

Household waste, and what to do with it, is a topic capable of dividing nations. Should I recycle? Can I be bothered? Will I actually make a difference? People across Europe struggle with these questions daily – and as our new study shows, there are some countries who need to seriously clean up their act.

Expert Market’s latest report is the first to throw landfill rates into the spotlight to determine which European country is the most wasteful, and also highlights the financial burden countries will have to bear if they continue at current rates of landfilling.

Methodology

The report analysed waste data in 29 European countries to determine the nations that are still heavily reliant on landfill sites instead of recycling and how many times their waste would fill the Colosseum.

The Roman structure is enormous even by modern day standards, it is estimated to hold 80,000 spectators (Wembley stadium can hold 90,000) and has total volume of 1,329,000m³.

Here is a list of all 29 countries in Europe ranked by total volume of waste in m³:

Country Volume of total waste, m³
Germany 106, 118, 934
France 69, 350, 683
Turkey 67, 160, 303
UK 65, 526, 147
Italy 60, 542, 823
Spain 41, 936, 907
Poland 22, 578, 179
Netherlands 18, 322, 354
Greece 11, 368, 412
Romania 10, 203, 845
Austria 10, 098, 770
Portugal 9, 751, 901
Belgium 9, 649, 981
Denmark 9, 404, 540
Sweden 9, 050, 854
Hungary 7, 761, 313
Czech Republic 6, 942, 773
Bulgaria 6, 273, 848
Finland 5, 670, 829
Norway 4, 790, 337
Slovakia 3, 712, 440
Croatia 3, 452, 285
Lithuania 2, 720, 842
Slovenia 1, 925, 635
Latvia 1, 668, 155
Cyprus 1, 123, 474
Estonia 983, 751
Luxembourg 765, 924
Malta 556, 986

Turkey is Europe’s Most Wasteful Country

Our research revealed that Turkey has the most wasteful residents in Europe, chucking away a mammoth 32.3. million tonnes of household and commercial waste straight to landfill; enough to fill the Colosseum over 44 times.

In contrast, Germany generates the highest volume of total waste of any country in Europe (106, 118, 934m³) but the data shows that the amount of waste transferred to incinerators and landfill sites would fill the Colosseum a mere 0.1 times, proving just how receptive the German public have been to the country’s innovative recycling initiatives.

The UK emerged as the 5th most wasteful nation in Europe, filling the Colosseum over 11 times. Over 20% of household rubbish in the UK is chucked straight to landfill which suggests that the country still has a long way to go in boosting recycling efforts.

Country Volume of landfilled waste, m³ How many times does landfill fill the Colosseum?
Turkey 58,411,874 44.3
Spain 23,079,929 17.5
France 17,811,966 13.5
Italy 16,304,852 12.4
UK 14,600,658 11.1
Poland 10,034,746 7.6
Greece 9,232,701 7
România 7,353,378 5.6
Portugal 4,788,379 3.6
Bulgaria 4,162,600 3.2
Hungary 4,138,930 3.1
Czech Republic 3,636,909 2.8
Croatia 2,749,530 2.1
Austria 2,567,529 1.9
Slovakia 2,547,245 1.9
Lithuania 1,469,741 1.1
Latvia 1,032,274 0.8
Cyprus 836,442 0.6
Finland 648,419 0.5
Malta 498,074 0.4
Slovenia 437,449 0.3
Netherlands 245,956 0.2
Germany 168,809 0.1
Norway 150,376 0.1
Luxembourg 133,164 0.1
Denmark 105,899 0.1
Belgium 93,214 0.1
Estonia 70,987 0.1
Sweden 60,794 0

Biggest Wasters: How Much Will It Cost?

As part of our study, we also calculated how much extra countries will be spending (or saving) on their landfill costs by 2025 compared to current costs.

The UK stands to make the biggest saving at €345 million if more robust waste management measures are implemented at the household level while our biggest waster, Turkey, stands to cash in on an extra €1.8 million in 2025.

More shocking are the costs that Croatia and Slovakia will face if they do not take measures to reduce their rubbish. Croatia will be spending an additional €5.2 million and Slovakia an extra €5.8 million in 2025 if they continue at current rates of waste generation.

Business Waste

Though our report has focused on household waste, DEFRA statistics show that business and commercial enterprises in the UK generated over 15 million tonnes of waste in 2014. We’ve partnered with top waste management companies in the UK to help businesses of any size to deal with their waste properly. Find out more here.

Sources

https://data.oecd.org/waste/municipal-waste.htm http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/studies/pdf/eucostwaste.pdf http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/conversions/weighttovolume.php https://www.realmofhistory.com/2016/08/06/8-facts-about-the-colosseum/ https://www.livepopulation.com/population-projections/turkey-2025.html