EU hazardous waste generation "rising"

Waste arisings up slightly, but landfill falling, according to Eurostat report

The EU is generating 27m tonnes hazardous waste a year, and the amount is increasing gradually, according to data published today by the EU's statistics service Eurostat. Against the trend, however, some countries are reducing their hazardous waste generation; in particular, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The data were provided by national governments, and Eurostat warns that differences in definitions used by each country mean that it is therefore not possible to make direct comparisons between countries. The report gives information on the methods for treating and disposing of hazardous waste, and shows that landfilling is still the prevalent option, and is used in more than one third of cases. With increased restrictions on landfilling, under a new EU directive, Eurostat expects this to decrease in the coming years. Such a decrease is already under way in France and Denmark, the report notes. The extent that landfills are used for hazardous waste varies from country to country, from less than 10% in Finland to more than 50% in the Belgian region of Flanders. Incineration is used in about 20% of cases, but the figure is nearer 50% in Denmark and France. Eurostat says it requires more detailed information on incineration in order evaluate its environmental impact. It wants to receive information on residues and on pollution abatement facilities at incineration plants.
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Hazardous waste generation (EU, Norway & Switzerland)
             Year      Total (1,000t)   kg per person
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Austria      1990           668             86
             1996           606             75
Belgium      1994         1,033            177
             1997         1,625            276
Denmark      1994           194             37
             1997           252             48
Finland      1987           314             64
             1992           559            111
France       1990         7,000            123
Germany      1990        13,079            165
             1993         9,093            112
Greece       1990           450             44
             1997           350             33
Ireland      1995           248             69
Luxembourg   1990           116            304
             1997           142            341
Netherlands  1990         1,040             70
             1996           930             60
Spain        1990         1,700             43
             1995         3,394             84
Sweden       1990           154             18
             1994           139             16
UK           1992         2,452             42
             1993         2,077             36
Norway       1994           500            115
             1997           640            146
Switzerland  1991           738            109
             1996           888            126
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Source:  Eurostat.  No data available for Italy or
Portugal;  Belgian data applies to Flanders only.
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* In a related development, statistics published by the Austrian environment agency on Friday show that hazardous waste generation grew from 605,000 tonnes in 1996 to 856,000 tonnes in 1998. An agency official told ENDS Daily that 90% of the additional material was due to more exact descriptions of pollutants in oil-contaminated land leading to more waste being registered as hazardous.

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