Key figures of Recycling

Updated 06/04/2020

In the context of the necessary shift towards a circular economy, waste recycling followed by the reincorporation of Raw Materials from Recycling into production represents an essential pillar for the circularity of resources.

The National Recycling Report has been published by the ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) since 2002. It presents the main evolutions of the recycling figures in France for various materials of the national economy and provides an overview of the recycling status for each of these materials over a sliding ten-year period, as well as economic and technical contextual elements or information in relation to changes in regulation. These elements allow a better understanding of the current obstacles to recycling, but also of the potential levers to increase the rate of incorporation of Raw Materials from Recycling in France.

What is recycling? 

Collection of household and professional waste for treatment in order to obtain raw materials usable for a new production. However recycling is not the first option, the prevention and reuse must be a priority in order to limit the amount of waste produced. Among all the waste treatment methods available, recycling is the preferred route to energy recovery or disposal, as it contributes to reduce pressure on natural resources. 

The recycling sector is a booming economic sector, bringing together diverse actors. It is a sector governed by European and French Regulation currently facing some issues to improve:
  • Better sorting and waste management to increase recycling
  • Produce more eco-designed products in order to facilitate their recycling   

Recycling in France: 

Recycling concerns various materials:
  • Ferrous metals ;
  • Non-ferrous metals (aluminum, copper, zinc, lead) ;
  • Glass ;
  • Paper and cardboard ;
  • Plastics ;
  • Inert waste from construction and demolition industry ;
  • Wood. 
The main recycled materials are inert wastes from Construction and demolition industry with 211 Mt produced in 10 years. This waste sector involve more than 16,500 people for the collection and preparation of waste. 

This sector is followed by the ferrous metals with 12.5 Mt collected or the equivalent of 1,244 Eiffel Towers. Over the past 10 years, the recycling of ferrous metals enabled to avoid the energy consumption of three cities the size of Lille. 

The third most recycled material in France is paper and cardboard with 7.3 Mt collected. This waste treatment enabled the production of other material:  paper and cardboard contains 67% of recycled material, which represents 5.4 Mt. 

Another material that is well recycled is plastic: over a production of 3.4 Mt, more than a third is collected: the equivalent of 1.3Mt. 

Read more about the key figure of recycling