EU statistics body Eurostat has revealed that just 11.7% of material resources in the EU came from recycled content in 2021.
Referred to as its circular material use rate, this actually fell from 11.8% in 2020, although it had reached 12% in 2019 prior to the Covid pandemic.
However, this remained an improvement on 8.3% in 2004, when the data was first published.
The Netherlands had the highest circularity rate using 34% recycled material, followed by Belgium (21%) and France (20%).
But the lowest rate was found in Romania with 1% and Finland and Ireland with 2%. Differences in Member States are based not only on the amount of recycling in each country, but also structural factors in their economies.
In terms of materials, the circularity rate in the EU for metal ores in 2021 was 23%, 14% for non-metallic minerals (including glass), 10% for biomass (including paper, wood, tissue etc) and 3% for fossil energy materials (including plastics and fossil fuels).