In 2008, the EU set an objective to recycle at least half of all household waste by 2020, in a bid to encourage a “more circular” use of material, save energy, and reduce the overall carbon emissions of the bloc, explains French newspaper Le Monde, on today - World Recycling Day (Wednesday November 15).
Since this objective was set, all countries have made progress, including France, but the Hexagon is still dragging behind, according to a report from European statistics agency Eurostat.
France recycled just 39.5% of household waste in 2015, compared to the higher rates of the top three: Germany (66.1%), Austria (56.9%) and Slovenia (54.1%).
France was 14th out of 27 monitored countries, behind nations including Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Finland and the UK.
It was, however, ahead of countries including Spain, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Greece, and the bottom three - Slovakia (14.9%), Romania (13.1%), and Malta (6.7%).
France has certainly improved, increasing its recycling rate by 9.8 percentage points between 2005 and 2015, but again, this is a lower rise compared to the UK (up 16.8 percentage points), Italy (+25) and Poland, which had a 10-year deficit to make up (+36.9).
There is hope for France though: The country’s Energy Transition Act, passed in 2015, is aiming to help improve recycling rates by at least 10% by 2020.
The country was also in the top six nation states in 2015 for “composting” - using waste to create energy - just behind Austria, Denmark, Holland, Luxembourg and Germany.
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