Recycling of household waste has tripled in Europe over the past decade but some countries are dragging their feet for meeting a target set for 2020, the European Environment Agency (EAA) said in a report issued on Tuesday.
From 2001 to 2010, recycling of materials and composting of organic waste in the 27 nations of the European Union (EU) rose from 13 percent of the total to 39 percent.
The bloc has set a target of 50 percent for 2020.
Leading the pack are Austria (63 percent), Germany (62 percent), Belgium (58 percent) and the Netherlands (51 percent).
In contrast, Romania recycled only 1 percent of its waste in 2010, down from 2 percent in 2001, and the figure for Bulgaria in 2010 was zero, unchanged from 2001.
"In a relatively short time, some countries have successfully encouraged a culture of recycling, with infrastructure, incentives and public awareness campaigns," said EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade.
"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."
Explore further: Water-quality trading can reduce river pollution