Britain has been crowned the most improved nation for recycling volumes during the so-called ‘noughties’, guardian.co.uk reports.

Between 2001 and 2010, Britain rose from recycling just 12 per cent of all municipal waste to 39 per cent, bringing it on a par with the EU average, according to figures published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Whilst the initial figure provided Britain with a relatively low starting point, a series of measures and improvements have seen Britain post the greatest improvements in recycling rates, with a total change of +26.5 per cent.

Ireland came in second place with a score of +24.4, followed by Slovenia in third with +22 per cent, as both countries have now – like Britain – adopted recycling bins as simply another part of their lives.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, it wasn’t quite such good news for Turkey, Romania, Finland, Malta and Norway which all ended up with worse stats in 2010 than they had in 2001. It was Norway which eventually came bottom of the pile, seeing its total shrink by 2.2 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade told businessgreen.com: “In a relatively short time, some countries have successfully encouraged a culture of recycling, with infrastructure, incentives and public awareness campaigns.

“But others are still lagging behind, wasting huge volumes of resources. The current intense demand for some materials should alert countries to the clear economic opportunities in recycling.”

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