Materials and waste - in depth

Over 50 percent of the waste created in Europe is thrown away in landfill sites, generating climate damaging methane emissions, which are 20 times worse than carbon dioxide. The incineration of waste is also increasing in Europe, contributing to increased carbon emissions, and destroying valuable resources.

Sustainable waste management is not only good for the environment, but also very positive for the economy, since it creates jobs and provides materials. If all EU countries recycled 70 percent of their waste, a level already achieved in some parts of Europe, it would create over 500,000 new jobs.


Recycling can meet a large proportion of the economy's demand for resources, alleviating pressure on the natural environment to provide resources and absorb waste. Recycling already meets substantial proportions of demand for some materials such as paper or steel. It is particularly valuable in securing supplies of critical resources, and recycling of rare metals is essential for the European Union to pioneer new technologies, particularly in areas such as communication technologies and renewable energy.

Friends of the Earth Europe campaigns for sustainable waste management, and highlights its economic, social and environmental benefits. A change to the current system is essential, in order to generate prosperity while maintaining a healthy environment and social equity for current and future generations.