Facts about waste management

Why should I sort my waste?

Your rubbish can contain both valuable and dangerous substances. Sorting waste can save lots of resources and protect both people and the environment.

Sorting your rubbish well helps to ensure that hazardous substances are disposed of safely. This protects people and the environment. 

By separating different materials, most of them can also be recycled into new products. We save energy and natural resources by using materials multiple times.

Waste sorting is part of the EU’s plan to manage our waste so that the environment and people are not harmed.

Sorting our waste also reduces the amount of waste at risk of going to landfill.

In fact, it is a criminal offence not to sort your rubbish.

Rubbish discarded in nature (or on city streets) could potentially leak dangerous substances. Most of it takes a very long time to decompose:

  • Glass – 1 million years

  • Plastic – 450 years (harmful microplastics will still remain)

  • Aluminium – 200–500 years

  • Plastic-coated paper – 5 years

  • Cigarette butts – 1–5 years

  • Paper – 6 months

Last updated: 2023-08-17