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Our industry

When you think of the circular economy, you immediately think of recycling.

The European recycling industry is at the forefront of this transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy in Europe. By substituting extracted raw materials with recycled materials the industry saves substantial amounts of energy and water while preventing significant CO2 emissions.

The industry uses sophisticated processes to recycle a diverse array of materials including metals, plastics, papers, textiles, cars, tyres, and electronic waste such as mobile phones and batteries. Our ambition is to go beyond circular, ensuring every product placed on the market – no matter what material it is composed of – is designed in a manner that enables the industry to recycle it over and over again.

Europe is also recognised as a global recycling leader and its recycling industries are also world-renowned for their state-of-the-art recycling facilities. Yet, there is still significant progress to be achieved, with just 12% of materials used in EU production coming from recycling. In the presence of a favourable European policy environment that stimulates demand for recycled materials and therefore investment in new technologies, the industry is capable of accelerating innovation and achieving the highest possible recycling rates.  


increase in the amount of waste collected and processed i.e., recovered in the EU since 2004


of waste was recycled in the EU


of waste was landfilled or incinerated in the EU that could otherwise have been recycled