On 22 March, the European Environment Agency (EEA) issued a study on the status of biodegradable waste in Europe. It highlights the differences between the national strategies drawn up, the methods currently used and the alternatives to landfill available.
The report by the EEA aims to compare the development of the treatment of biodegradable waste between Member States, as well as suggesting measures to reduce the use of landfills. The main findings are:
- The options to landfill are limited and include incineration with energy recovery, central composting and material recycling.
- There are considerable gaps in information at national level. Harmonised data collection systems and reporting must be developed to be able to follow the waste flows.
- A more detailed description of what should be considered as biodegradable waste is needed.
- Countries, particularly Denmark, that have been successful in minimising landfill, have used an integrated approach including separate collection, development of a market for the side-products and a combined use of several treatment options.
- Bans, restrictions and taxation are key instruments to divert biodegradable waste away from landfills.