How will waste disposal look by 2020?


There are currently over seven billion human beings calling Earth home. This number has drastically increased over the past few centuries. The growing population is raising many issues and questions about how the human race can adapt to meet the oncoming challenges. Waste is one of the most apparent issues that has taken centre-stage in the discussion of population growth. While one human may not produce a lot of waste, that number being multiplied by several billion quickly becomes an issue. For example, the average household in the UK produces one ton of waste each year. This comes to around 31 million tons for entire UK.

Regional Statistics

These staggering numbers have led many citizens and leaders to push for reforms that would help local communities and entire countries better manage their waste disposal. Since the early 2000s, the percentage of waste sent overseas has increased by six times its previous numbers. This number represents roughly half of what is considered recycled by UK standards. Statistics and analysis from around Great Britain show a mixture of results in terms of recycling. The BBC news has reported that council recycling rates that serve 14 million homes have dropped significantly in the past five years. However, the rate of recycling has quadrupled within the past ten years.

UK Goals

Many officials are worried that the UK will not meet the EU target goal for recycling 50% of all rubbish by the year 2020. In fact, Britain is one example in a long list of countries that are at risk for missing this goal. Greece, Finland, Estonia, Hungary and many others are facing similar shortcomings for proper waste disposal. In response to these failing numbers, the EU has set forth a bespoke plan for each individual country to help meet the 2020 goals.

EU Countries at Risk

Committees met to discuss the unique problems that each country faces and personalized plans were devised to help reach the 50% mark. Some of the proposed changes include enhanced data quality, the use of specific taxes, separation of waste and more. These reports also suggested an improvement in the operations of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes.

While the United Kingdom was not included in the official list for countries at risk of missing the goal, there are still many changes that can be made to improve the waste management situation. The 50% goal set by the EU is a noble target that can be reached by 2020 if everyone included does their part.