Did you know that Europe produces 930 million tonnes of
waste per year, including 132 million tonnes of
household waste 1?
These 132 million tonnes of household waste, piled 30 metres high, would fill
1,000 football fields! In 1990, 68% of municipal waste was landfilled and 18%
In 1975, the Community Institutions began to introduce policies and measures to
improve waste management. For example, the Member States were required to
draft waste management plans and to introduce policies for prevention, recovery
and recycling, with incineration and landfilling considered less desirable
solutions (for a description of the Community regulatory context, see page 22).
Cities, where population density and therefore production of waste are higher,
play an essential role in the management of municipal waste. For this reason, two
networks of European cities – the ACR-AVR (Association of Cities for Recycling)
and Energie-Cités – along with Agrital Ricerche, an Italian research and study
centre, jointly presented a proposal to the European Commission (DG Environment)
for a project intended to increase awareness on the part of local authorities and the
media in four EU Member States – Spain, Italy, Ireland and the UK – concerning
the need to elaborate local waste management strategies. This project is based on
the experience of the REMECOM network (European Network of Measures for
Classification of Household Waste; see page 2) as an example of exchanges
between cities regarding methods of analysis and measurement of the volume of
household waste at local level.
Media-Com : a means of increasing awareness and a collection of examples of
As a result of this proposal we have produced Media-com, a method for raising
awareness of waste management based on descriptions of «good practice» in 18
cities in eleven countries of the EU. Some of these cities participated in the
REMECOM network and adopted its methodology, while others chose to remain
independent of REMECOM, in hopes that their own waste management practices
could serve as an example to others. All these practices are described in an
attractive, non-technical style and are supported by statistics and simple
technical information, as well as illustrations. This document, which could also be
termed a collection of «good practices», constitutes a source of information and
ideas for local authorities and the media. We sincerely hope this document is a
positive contribution to all initiatives taken in Europe to improve local
management of household waste and thereby to promote integrated and
sustainable urban development.
Figures for 1990
Source : Commission Communication on a re-examination of the Community strategy for waste
management – COM (96) 399 final.