According to 2011 data published by Eurostat on waste management, the volume of material recycling in crisis-hit EU member states has dropped to pre-2009 levels (figures shown in table below). An overall reduction in per capita waste generation is also evident in the data published by Eurostat, as a result of reduced consumption.
Table: Volume of material recycling (in kg per capita)
Apart from reduced consumption, unauthorised removal of discarded material from the special recycling bins appears to be a problem of increasing significance, since it threatens to undermine the economic viability of recycling companies. Both in Portugal and in Greece, organised scavenging on recycling bins, primarily for scrap metals and paper, has increased sharply since 2010.
In Portugal, municipalities are starting door-to-door collection schemes, which is expected to increase the volumes and quality of recycled materials.