Landfill sites could soon be banned across Europe, under plans drawn up by the European Commission.

The body’s environment commissioner, Janez Potocnik, has suggested that the continent could survive without landfills – as many EU member states are “practically” sending no waste whatsoever to landfill at present.

According to, Potocnik told a conference in Germany it was time for other states to follow its lead.

He said: “Unfortunately, even today, nearly 50 per cent of plastic in Europe goes to landfill. This is broadly equivalent to 12 million tonnes of crude oil that we dump on landfills every year.

“I know that we can, and we should do better because underneath these European figures there are six member states that have virtually eliminated landfilling, recovering 90 per cent of plastic waste, while others still bury 80 to 90 per cent.”

The differences in use of regular and recycling bins across EU member states is something which could be tackled and a landfill ban would certainly be one of way of doing just that.

Potocnik has pledged to launch a green paper tackling the issue of plastic waste, too. According to, he also urged plastic manufacturers to create products which can be repaired, updated and dismantled more easily.

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