Recycling rate above EU average, circular material use rate down

Ljubljana – Circular economy indicators published by the Statistics Offices this week show Slovenia kept its recycling rates for packaging and municipal waste well above EU average in 2019 and 2020. It however continued to lag behind in terms of the circular material use rate.

In 2019, the recycling rate of overall packaging in Slovenia was 67.1%, which compares to the EU average of 64.8%. Minor decreases were recorded both in Slovenia and at the EU level in 2020.

In 2020, the amount of generated municipal waste slightly decreased in Slovenia and was 489 kg per capita, compared to a 505 kg EU average. The recycling rate of municipal waste in 2020 was the same as in 2019, meaning 59.2% or 11.4 percentage points above the EU average.

Compared to 2019, the generation of waste excluding major mineral waste per domestic material consumption decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point and amounted to 10.9%. Food waste generated increased again in 2020 and amounted to 144,000 tonnes, 2% more than the previous year.

The recycling rate of plastic packaging remained relatively modest in 2019, amounting to 50.3%. Compared to 2016, it decreased by 11.7 percentage points, but was still higher than the 41% EU average.

The recycling rate of e-waste, a growing issue, increased to 37.0%, in 2019, which was however 1.9 percentage points below the 2018 EU average.

The recycling rate of all waste excluding major mineral waste was 82.9% in 2020, better than the EU average of 55%.

On the other hand, the recycling of biowaste per capita decreased considerably in 2020, falling to the 2016 level of just under 70%, which compares to an EU average of 90%. The recovery rate for construction and demolition waste remained at a high level.

Meanwhile, the circular material use rate decreased by 0.3 of a percentage point in 2020 to 10.6%. It was below the 12.8% EU average.

Trade in recyclable raw materials (waste and by-products) was led by exports to non-EU countries in 2020. It increased by 86% (154,159 tonnes) compared to 2019.

The amount of waste and by-products accounted for by imports from non-EU countries and imports from EU members decreased. In 2020, the first indicator was 85.097 tonnes and the latter was 903.235 tonnes.

Gross investment in tangible goods and value added at factor cost both increased by 0.01 of a percentage point, to 0.17% and 1.27% of of GDP respectively in 2020. The second indicator has fallen from 2.14% recorded in 2016.

The share of persons employed in circular economy sectors was 2.09% in 2016 and has been decreasing since. In 2020, it was 1.93%.