Each year, we generate 2.5 billion tonnes of waste in the European Union – or five tonnes per person. Our waste contains large volumes of valuable materials for Europe’s industry, such as paper, wood, industrial minerals, and metals. Some of these can already be recycled close to 100% with no losses in quantity and quality (such as glass and steel).

Proper separate collection of waste is necessary to ensure optimal material recovery. The current trend of increasing collection rates, encouraged by EU legislation, is promising. However, progress is uneven between Members States.

There are also large differences in waste collection performances between regions, due to the influence of regional and local policies. While European and national targets are the overall drivers of better waste collection, regional and local implementation is crucial for achieving positive results. Good practices have the potential to serve as examples for other territories. So far, however, results of existing studies and identified good practices have not been effective enough in supporting the implementation of better-performing systems.

This is where COLLECTORS comes in. We aim to bring together scattered information, use a systematic comparative approach, and inform decision-makers as best as possible to encourage the replication of good practices.