Waste generation in Europe’s top 10 markets could grow by 11.5 million tonnes by 2018, according to new AcuComm analysis.

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Driven by improving economic conditions and rising population, Europe’s leading markets could see a massive expansion in the volume of waste generated by 2018. But this is only part of the story – while major economies will still dominate waste league tables, the fastest growing markets are to be found elsewhere.

European waste generation will increase by 2018 - but by how much and where?

According to a new AcuComm report, the European Waste Management Fact File 2013 (http://www.acucomm.net/eff), the top 10 markets in terms of tonnes of waste collectively generated was 235,921 million in 2011 – a figure which could rise by over 11 million tonnes a year by 2018.

Based on 10-years historical data and 5-year forecasts of population, GDP and key waste indicators, the report presents High/Medium/Low scenarios of how the European market may develop. For example, if 2011 per capita levels of waste generated are projected forward and do not change then an additional 11.5 million tonnes of waste will be generated in the top 10 markets alone by 2018.

But looking at total waste generation can be deceptive. In many markets, waste volume is falling and while the industrialised economies such as Germany, France and the UK will account for the lion’s share of the waste generated, they have better infrastructure to handle it. The real challenge will be in the markets of southern and eastern Europe where waste management infrastructure is at its more basic. It is in these markets that the EU’s ambitions for environmentally sensitive disposal and improved recycling while reducing reliance on landfill will be most challenged.

Eric Wigart, Chairman of AcuComm, said, “The expansion in the amount of waste generated in Europe is increasing, and the return of economic growth and industrial output will see mounting pressure on disposal infrastructure. While leading markets of Germany, France and UK still top ranking for the volume of waste generated, it is the emergent economies in central and east Europe that will present the greatest challenge to governments and operators. As growth in generation outstrips growth in the installation base of advanced treatment – even where it exists – the EU targets for effective waste treatment look challenging.”

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Kim Wigart
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