Waste and recycling

Waste treatment and recycling have an important role in building a resource-efficient circular economy. Recycling protects the environments, supports security of supply of raw materials and can provide more cost-effective inputs to industry. In a circular economy, waste is eliminated by closing reuse and recycling loops.1 A resource-efficient system of production and consumption benefits economically through the use of residuals, by-products, and waste as inputs to production processes. With the given state of technology, governance processes are often more important for increasing recycling rates or reducing waste than actual technological innovations.2 3 4 The success of the innovation system for waste and recycling critically depends on developments in product design, consumer behaviour, waste infrastructures, and the business case for waste utilization. All these factors are ultimately strongly shaped by government regulations and policies. Click here for an example on how to use the indicators below to analyse responses to the problem of plastic waste.

  • 1. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 2012. ‘Towards a Circular Economy Economic and Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition’.
  • 2. Bulkeley, Harriet, Matt Watson, and Ray Hudson. 2007. ‘Modes of Governing Municipal Waste’. Environment and Planning A 39 (11): 2733–53. doi:10.1068/a38269.
  • 3. Manhart, Andreas. 2011. ‘International Cooperation for Metal Recycling from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment’. Journal of Industrial Ecology 15 (1): 13–30.
  • 4. Saner, Dominik, Yann B. Blumer, Daniel J. Lang, and Annette Koehler. 2011. ‘Scenarios for the Implementation of EU Waste Legislation at National Level and Their Consequences for Emissions from Municipal Waste Incineration’. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 57: 67–77.

Knowledge development and diffusion

Patents in Waste management

Patents can help protect and realize innovations within waste management.

Read more

Patents in Waste management per 1000 researchers

Patents can help protect and realize innovations within waste management.

Read more

Patents in Waste management per mill. inhab.

Patents can help protect and realize innovations within waste management.

Read more

Scientific publications - Waste & Recycling

Publications serve as proxy for research and knowledge diffusion activity.

Read more

Scientific publications per 1000 researchers - Waste & Recycling

Publications serve as proxy for research and knowledge diffusion activity.

Read more

Scientific publications per mill. inhab. - Waste & Recycling

Publications serve as proxy for research and knowledge diffusion activity.

Read more

Influence on the direction of search

GHG emissions per capita - Waste sector

Monitoring the development of GHG emission per capita due to the waste sector over time and across countries can provide information on where there may be potential synergies and trade-offs between GHG emissions and waste and recycling issues.  

Read more

Waste to landfill

High waste to landfill ratios point to opportunities in the form of waste reduction and recycling.

Read more

Market formation

Plastic waste - incineration for energy (kg per capita)

Incineration for energy is one way of utilising plastic waste streams.

Read more

Plastic waste - incineration for energy (tonnes)

Incineration for energy is one way of utilising plastic waste streams.

Read more

Plastic waste: net exports in kg per capita

Whether a country is a net importer or exporter of plastic waste is an important indicator for understanding the structure of its market for waste plastic.

Read more

Price glass waste

Stable positive prices can support business development.

Read more

Price paper waste

Stable positive prices can support business development.

Read more

Price plastic waste

Stable positive prices can support business development.

Read more

Legitimation of technologies

Eurobarometer survey - Environmental concern

A higher prioritisation of environmental issues should translate into more support for recycling.

Read more

Resource mobilization

BERD Sewerage, waste management, remediation activities

Private research and development expenditure supports innovation in the waste and recycling sector.

Read more

Environmental protection expenditure on waste management

Expenditure can create demand for novel waste management solutions.

Read more

Public R&D spending - Environment sector (PPS per capita)

This may benefit the generation of waste and recycling knowledge.
 

Read more

Public R&D spending - Environment sector (share of GBAORD)

This may benefit the generation of waste and recycling knowledge.

Read more