Monday. 04.03.2024

In the European Union (EU), an estimated 42% of plastic packaging waste was recycled in 2017, according to the latest figures released by the statistical office of the EU (Eurostat). 


The surprise in this ranking was Finland, a member state accustomed to leading statistics on environmental issues. The country of ice and snow ranked in this matter as penultimate with a recycling rate of 27%, well below the EU average.

Eurostat figures show that Finns generated 120,309 tons of waste in the form of plastic packages in 2017. Of them, only 34,565 tons were later recycled. 

Finland's recycling rate is similar to Estonia's, but is well below that of its other neighbour, Sweden (48%).

According to Eurostat's figures, in seven EU Member States, more than half of the plastic packaging waste generated was recycled during the same year.

The highest rates

The highest recycling rate of plastic packaging waste was recorded in Lithuania (74%), ahead of Bulgaria (65%), Cyprus (62%, but with 2016 data), Slovenia (60%), Czechia (59%), Slovakia (52%) and the Netherlands (50%).


Overall, the evolution of the entire European Union in the last fifteen years can be described as positive. Compared with 2005, the recycling rate of plastic packaging waste increased by 18 percentage points (pp) in the EU (from 24% in 2005 to 42% in 2017).

This increasing trend is observed at varied levels in all EU Member States except Croatia, Eurostat remarked.


The figures produced by Eurostat show that less than one third of plastic packaging waste was recycled in Malta (24%, 2016 data), Finland, France and Estonia (each 27%), Ireland (31%), Hungary (32%), Austria and Luxembourg (33%).

If you want to consult the complete Eurostat database and check the evolution for each country, click HERE

Finland, among countries that recycle less plastic packaging