Waste generation and treatment (env_wasgt)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4.Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development
1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 21/09/2011
2.2. Metadata last posted 21/09/2011
2.3. Metadata last update 21/09/2011

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

On the basis of the Regulation on waste statistics (EC) No. 2150/2002, amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No. 849/2010, data on the generation and treatment of waste is collected from the Member States. The information on waste generation has a breakdown in sources (several business activities according to the NACE classification and household activities) and in waste categories (according to the European Waste Classification for statistical purposes). The information on waste treatment is broken down to five treatment types (recovery, incineration with energy recovery, other incineration, disposal on land and land treatment) and in waste categories; this data set also has a breakdown in regions (NUTS1).

All values are measured in tonnes of waste and in kg per capita, based on the annual average of the population.

The Member States are free to decide on the data collection methods. The general options are: surveys, administrative sources, statistical estimations or some combination of methods.

For the first reference year 2004 Member States could apply for permission not to deliver part of the information: waste generated by agriculture and fishing and waste generated in the services sector. For this reason this information is missing for some of the countries.

Previously data on waste was collected on a voluntary basis with the joint OECD/Eurostat questionnaire on waste. A separate annual collection of data exists for the structural indicators on municipal waste: structural indicators (see at the bottom of the page, concept "21.2 Related Metadata", file "tsien120_esms").

3.2. Classification system

Currently the domain consists in two data sets: Generation of waste and Treatment of waste. The data set on the generation of waste has a breakdown in waste categories and in the source of waste generation; the data set on the treatment of waste has a breakdown in the type of treatment, waste category and region.

Waste categories

The data sets contain a breakdown in waste categories according to the European Waste Classification for statistical purposes: EWC-Stat. It is a mainly substance oriented classification and it distinguishes hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The classification is linked to the administrative classification List of Wastes: List of wastes.

The data set on waste generation uses a breakdown in 48 categories; the breakdown in the data on waste treatment is an aggregation with different breakdowns for different treatment types. Take care: per type of treatment all kinds of waste are included in the table, but as the relevant breakdown differs per type of treatment missing values will occur when a specific breakdown was not required.

Source of waste generation, economic activities

The generation of waste is attributed to either production or consumption activities. The actor handing over the waste to the waste management system is regarded as the source. For production activities a further breakdown is supplied in 19 economic activities according to the NACE rev. 2 classification. Three of these activities are linked to the waste management and will contain secondary waste: Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery (division 38), Remediation activities and other waste management services (division 39) and Wholesale of waste and scrap (class 46.77). In addition to the waste generated by businesses waste is generated by households.

Treatment types

On the basis of the treatment operations defined in the Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC a distinction is made in five treatment types:

Recovery (excluding energy recovery): operations R2 to R11;

Energy recovery: R1;

Incineration: D10

Disposal on land: D1, D3, D4, D5, D12

Land treatment/release into water: D2, D6, D7

The relevant breakdown in waste categories is different for the different treatment types.


The table on waste generation is only available on national level; the information by treatment type also has a regional breakdown at NUTS1 level: regions.

3.3. Coverage - sector

The database on waste generation includes all economic activities and in addition waste generated by households.

The database on waste treatment does not include pre-treatment activities (like sorting, drying), but only the final treatment.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Waste: any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard.

The sludges (including the dredging spoils) are measured in dry material.

3.5. Statistical unit

In the table on waste generation: businesses (kind-of-activity units or local units) and households.

In the table on waste treatment: waste treatment plants.

3.6. Statistical population

In the table on waste generation: all national waste generators; in the table on waste treatment all treatment plants.

3.7. Reference area

The following regional levels are used in the database: EU-27, national data and for waste treatment also regional data at NUTS1 level.

Waste statistics covers the European Union, European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway) and Candidate Countries.

3.8. Coverage - Time

2004, 2006, 2008, 2010

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

1) tonnes (European totals are rounded to 10,000 tonnes for confidentiality reasons)

2) kg per capita (based on the annual average of the population)

5. Reference Period Top

Calendar years: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2002 on waste statistics

Commission Regulation (EC) No 782/2005 of 24 May 2005 setting out the format for the transmission of results on waste statistics

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1445/2005 of 5 September 2005 defining the proper quality evaluation criteria an the contents of the quality reports for waste statistics

Commission Regulation (EU) No 849/2010 of 27 September 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste statistics

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

There is no data sharing with other international organisations; international organisations can use the data as published in the dissemination database.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

The MS are responsible for the confidentiality treatment of their data (primary and secondary). In agreement with the MS, EU aggregates are rounded to 10.000 t to hide confidential data at country level.

Confidential data is not treated; the cells appears as missing with a confidentiality flag.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Country figures on 2008 published in October 2010; Revised data to be published in December 2010. Data on reference year 2010 are due in 2012.

8.2. Release calendar access

See Eurostat website, Release calendar, data releases

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Every two years

10. Dissemination format Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release
News releases on-line
10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

'Environmental Statistics and Accounts in Europe', chapter 3

The waste section in Energy, transport and environment indicators: pocketbook.

Waste generated and treated in Europe - data 1995-2003

Hazardous and industrial waste management in accession countries

Energy, transport and environment indicators pocketbook

Ecological footprint and biocapacity: the world's ability to regenerate resources and absorb waste in a limited time period.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable (Eurostat collects the data from the Member States at an aggregate level).

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Statistics explained - Waste statistics 



11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

Manual for the Implementation of Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 on waste statistics: manual.

Guidance on classification of waste according to the European Waste Classification for statistical purposes (EWC-Stat): waste classification.

11.2. Quality management - documentation

The Member States describe the sources and methods in the quality report: reports. A summary of the quality information at the European level is found in report to the European Parliament and to the Council: quality of waste statistics.

12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

The quality assurance is a joint responsibility of the Member States and Eurostat. The Member States do the data collection and descirbe their sources and methods in a quality report (see the link under 11.2). Eurostat can do comparisons over the countries and will discuss the issue of comparability with the countries. The overall quality is difficult to asses. Although the concepts, the classifications and the formats are clearly defined, the countries remain free to choose the sources and methods that fit them best. A link to a summary assessment is also found under 11.2.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

See the points 11.2 and 12.1 above.

13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

The user needs are defined in the whereas part of the Regulation on waste statistics (EC) No 2150/2002:

Regular Community statistics on the production and management of waste from businesses and private households are required by the Community for monitoring the implementatin of waste policy. This creates the basis for monitoring compliance with the principles of maximisation of recovery and safe disposal.

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

No systematic user satisfaction survey was conducted.

13.3. Completeness

The data sets have a high level of completeness. A few data cells are confidential; this concerns mainly smaller countries. Some other data cells are missing because no proper data source was available; the countries concerned are working to make their data more complete.

14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

See the point 11.2 and 12.1 above.

14.2. Sampling error

Due to the freedom of the countries to choose their methods, sampling methods were used by some countries in some parts of the reporting tables. An overall assessment is not possible, for the assessment at country level look into the documents referred to in 11.2.

14.3. Non-sampling error

Due to the freedom of the countries to choose their methods the non-sampling errors are difficult to summarise at the European level. For the assessment at country level look into the documents referred to in 11.2.

15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

Within two years after the reference period

15.2. Punctuality

The Member States have to deliver the data within 18 months after the end of the reference period. Most countries do respect this deadly, some countries deliver with a small delay. In a few cases the delay is over 2 months. In such cases Eurostat will propose an imputation of the country data to be able to produce European totals. The European totals will be published end of November.

16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

Due to the common definitions and classifications the comparability over the countries is fairly high. Some problems remain where countries have not used statistical units to link to the economic activities that generate the waste. Some countries still fail to distinguish between muncipal waste and waste generated by households. Municipal waste can also include waste generated by small businesses and offices.

In the information on the treatment of waste the distinction between incineration with and without energy recovery has been unclear. In the data from reference period 2008 onwards the distinction is based on the energy efficiency of the process. This will improve the comparability of this element.

16.2. Comparability - over time

The data is comparable over time unless otherwise stated. A break in series flag will be applied to indicate significant changes in methods.

17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

The use of statistical units and the NACE classification of economic activities makes the waste domain coherent with business statistics. This allows the computation of indicators based on economic variables (e.g. value added).

17.2. Coherence - internal

The data are to a high degree internally coherent (totals are equal to the sum of the breakdowns). Due to the structure of the reporting tables, some aspects of internal coherence can not be verified. In the information on waste treatment the breakdown in waste categories is different for the different treatment types. This makes it impossible to follow the treatment of a specific waste stream.

The information on the generation of waste can not be directly linked to the information on the treatment of waste for several reasons. The generation of waste concerns the waste produced in the country, the treatment of waste the waste treated in the country, so differences can occur due to import and export of waste. Moreover, the generation of waste includes the waste produced by waste treatment activities (sorting, composting, incineration), whereas the treatment table only includes the final treatment. Waste treatment is a process which takes time and in the meanwhile some of the weight might be lost (drying). In short, the two components of waste statistics, generation and treatment, will be equal only by accident or by mistake.

18. Cost and Burden Top

The overall cost and burden is difficult to assess due to the different data collection methods applied by the Member States. See the documents mentioned under 11.2.

19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

All data are supposed to be final unless indicated as provisional. Correction of errors is possible.

19.2. Data revision - practice

The published data should be regarded as final, unless otherwise stated. Corrections and revisions might occur. Important corrections will be explained in the summary methodology.

Major changes in the methods will be the result of legislation, and therefore announced in the Official Journal of the European Communities. From reference year 2010 onwards (data due in 2012), the breakdown into waste categories will be harmonised for waste generated and treated.

20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

The Member States are free to decide on the data collection methods. The general options are: surveys, administrative sources, statistical estimations or some combination of methods. The Member States describe the sources and methods in the quality report: reports.

20.2. Frequency of data collection

Once in two years.

20.3. Data collection

The original data collection is carried out by the Member States, Eurostat collects the data only indirectly. Member States collect data from administrative sources and in many cases conduct business surveys on waste generation stratified by NACE activity. The survey method and sampling strategy varies from country to country (paper questionnaire, web questionnaire, CATI, etc.).

20.4. Data validation

Eurostat validates national data is done in cooperation with the Member States. All data are approved by the Member States unless the value is indicated as Eurostat estimate (flag S).

20.5. Data compilation

The European aggregates are calculated as the simple sum over the Member States.

For waste generation: on the handover of the waste to the waste management system.

For waste treatment: on the final treatment.

20.6. Adjustment

The database presents sludges only in dry matter. Up to 2006, the information on sludges was originally collected from the Member States both in wet waste and in dry matter. For many countries either the wet or the dry value was missing. It was decided to impute the missing values using the following conversion factors in the waste generation table:

  • EWC-Stat 03.2 Industrial effluent sludges non-hazardous: 0.27
  • EWC-Stat 03.2 Industrial effluent sludges hazardous: 0.27
  • EWC-Stat 11 (excl. 11.3) Common sludges 0.20

The dredging spoils EWC-Stat 11.3 were reported as wet waste only, but it was decided to convert this waste to dry matter as well, using a guesstimated conversion factor 0.50.

In the waste treatment the Common sludges (EWC-Stat 11) were imputed using the conversion factor 0.20.

All these imputations are indicated as estimates.

From 2008 onwards, Member States report sludges in dry matter only based on their own conversion.

21. Comment Top

Next to the data collected in the generation and treatment of waste in the framework of the Regulation on waste statistics, two other data collections on waste have to be mentioned. One is data on the generation and treatment of municipal waste. For this data a time series exist with annual data from 1995 onwards. For the comparability with the concept of waste generated by households see point 16.1 comparability.

The other collection of waste data concerns information for the monitoring of the efficiveness of certain waste Directives (for instance on packaging waste, end-of-life vehicles and electronic waste).

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top