The Europeans who churn out the most rubbish are the Danes, the Cypriots and the Irish, according to official Eurostat figures on municipal waste just released for 2008. This also went into how the European Union member states deal with their trash. Eurostat says 40 percent of the stuff is recycled or incinerated.
While rubbish for the average Dane tipped the scales at more than 800 kilos, the Czechs were the least rubbishy, producing a comparatively abstemious 300 kilos or so. The overall EU average was about half a tonne. It is 565 kilos per head in the UK.
The treatment methods differ substantially from one country to another: landfill, incineration and recycling. In seven countries, less than 10 percent of waste was recycled.
One of the poorest EU members, Bulgaria, sends it all to landfill, Romania, Malta, Lithuania and Latvia about the same proportion. Austria shows up the most environmentally responsible (70% of its waste is recycled or composted). The Danes may produce the most but they also burn the most — more than half. The Czechs send over 80 percent of their 306 kilos of municipal waste each to landfill sites, only recycling two percent, and composting the same. Germany, Sweden and Belgium recycle the most.