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Cyprus at serious risk of missing recycling targets

September 25, 2018 at 11:45am

Cyprus is at risk of failing to achieve the EU’s recycling targets for 2020, according to an EU Commission report released on Monday.

The EU sets directives for member states for how much of their waste should they recycle.

Cyprus is behind targets in five out of six categories of waste.

Apart from Cyprus, the member states identified as at risk of missing the target are Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

Municipal waste:

According to the report, municipal waste refers to waste from households and similar waste. Municipal waste represents only around 10 % of the total waste generated in the EU. In 2016, Europeans generated on average 480 kg of municipal waste per person, 46 % of which was recycled or composted.

Legal obligations on the management of municipal waste include a 50 % municipal waste preparing for re-use/recycling target to be achieved by 2020. Cyprus was identified as at risk of missing this target.

Other countries at risk were: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

Construction and demolition waste:

Construction and demolition waste is the biggest waste stream in the EU by weight, accounting for over 800 million tonnes per year, i.e. around 32 % of the total waste generated.

The Waste Framework Directive sets a 2020 target of 70 % preparation for re-use, recycling and other material recovery for this waste stream.

Member States’ performances vary significantly, with over half reporting that they already met the 2020 target in the 2013-
2015 period, and some even achieving over 90% recovery. However, Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, and Sweden are still below 60%.

Electrical and electronic equipment waste:

Around 10 million tonnes (0.4% of the total waste produced) of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is estimated to have been generated in the EU in 2014 – a figure which is expected to climb to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020.

In 2015, 23 Member States met the minimum collection target of 4 kg of household WEEE per person, with Sweden and Denmark collecting as much as 12 kg while Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Romania “missed the target by a considerable margin,” the report says.

Packaging waste:

In 2015, the total packaging waste generated in the EU amounted to around 85 million tonnes, which is around 3.4 % of the total waste generated.

The Packaging Directive sets specific targets for packaging waste to be met by the end of 2008 (with time extensions for some Member States – all ceased to apply in 2015): overall recovery and recycling targets (60 % and 55 %, respectively) alongside material-specific recycling targets (60 % for paper and cardboard, 60 % for glass, 50 % for metal, 22.5 % for plastic and 15 % for wood).

The report says that most Member States are meeting current overall recycling targets, although Hungary (since 2012) and Malta (since 2013) missed them by a considerable margin. Several Member States missed one or more material-specific targets, with Cyprus missing the target for wood and glass.

Landfilling:

Landfilling is the least preferable waste treatment option. The Landfill Directive obliged Member States to reduce landfilling of municipal biodegradable waste to a maximum of 75 % by 2006, 50 % by 2009 and 35 % by 2016, compared to a 1995 baseline.

According to the reported data, in 2015, half of Member States had already met the 35 % target for 2016. Croatia missed its 75 % target which was due in 2013. Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia and Slovakia missed the 50 % target, also due in 2013.

The Commission said that it would undertake visits to the member states at risk of not meeting the 2020 municipal waste targets, “to discuss the opportunities and challenges with the national, regional and local authorities and the relevant stakeholders.”