Bio-waste is one of the key waste streams in Europe and holds great potential for the circular economy, delivering valuable soil-improving material and fertiliser as well as biogas, a source of renewable energy.
According to the European Environment Agency’s report Bio-waste in Europe — turning challenges into opportunities’, reducing and using bio-waste could cut emissions, improve soils and provide energy. Recycling bio-waste is also key for meeting the European Union’s target to recycle 65 % of municipal waste by 2035.
The EEA report ‘ analyses the state of play and potential for this waste stream, which is largely composed of food and garden waste. The report provides an overview of bio-waste generation, prevention, collection, and treatment in Europe.
Recently revised waste legislation within the EU’s circular economy strategy has introduced a number of targets and provisions that will drive both the prevention and the sustainable management of bio-waste. With a share of 34 %, bio-waste is the largest single component of municipal waste in the EU. Recycling of bio-waste is key for meeting the EU target to recycle 65 % of municipal waste by 2035.
About 60 % of bio-waste is food waste. Reducing the demand for food by preventing food waste can decrease the environmental impacts of producing, processing and transporting food. The benefits from reducing such upstream impacts are much higher than any environmental benefits from recycling food waste. The Sustainable Development Goals’ target of halving food waste by 2030 has helped to put preventing food waste high on the policy agenda in most European countries.
Source: EEA (European Environment Agency)