Separate Collection of Bio-Waste in Europe

In 2019 ECN published the 'ECN Status Report on European Bio-Waste Management' giving an overview on separate collection, the treatment and markets across Europe.

The overall aim was to update the ECN country reports and to get a consolidated overview of the state of play of bio-waste management across Europe. Together with the Working Group on Biological Waste Treatment of the International Solid Waste Association a survey for data collection was set up.

Data from 18 European countries were obtained and analysed as shown in the map. These data relate to the calendar years 2016 or 2017 and were compared with the EUROSTAT released data in 2016.

According to the survey, in total 47.5 million tonnes of bio-waste is separately collected. On average this equates to 117 kg bio-waste per capita per year.

With regard to the total amount of bio-waste separately collected per year and country Germany collects more than 14 million tonnes of bio-waste per year, followed by UK with 8.9 million; Italy with 6.5 million, and France 4.6 million tonnes of biowaste.

Guidance on separate collection

The ECN released a  guidance on separate collection, which is a useful document for policy makers, public authorities, waste operators and researchers.

Food waste and garden waste are the main fractions of the bio-waste category. Garden waste collection is often implemented in many countries through door to door schemes or through citizens that bring cuttings and pruning from their gardens to the local collection centres. However, implementing a high-quality collection of food waste is more difficult for public authorities. It raises problem of impurities and contamination with other materials that are difficult to remove during the recycling process – e.g. glass, metal and plastic; it requires cooperation and participation and they must have a good monitoring system in place.

The Task Group of the ECN experts of separate collection drafted this handy guidance to showcase best practices, including incentive schemes and awareness raising campaigns. The guidance provides viable solutions for the high quality recycling of food waste into compost and digestate.

The guidance can be accessed here.

Case studies of separate collection of food waste

This map has been prepared with the contribution of the Task Group on separate collection of the European Compost Network. It is meant for demonstrative purposes and it does not mean to include all existing good practices about separate collection of food waste. You can contribute providing info about new municipalities implementing it, by sending an email with basic data to

Filter by