Evolution of the Romanian recycling industry, far from European targets

The turnover of Romanian recycling companies increased by 2.2% compared to 2019 and was 43% above the 2016 level, reaching lei 12.7 billion in 2020.

For 2021, we estimate the continuation of the growth trend that started in 2016 and exceeding the lei 13 billion level. In the medium term, we expect an accentuation of the growth trend pending on successfully accessing and implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), based on the substantial concentration of milestones around environmental indicators”, said Tudor Malearov, Business Development Manager KeysFin, during the sixth edition of the Environmental Forum organized by Universul Juridic.

From a county perspective, the Capital leads with a turnover of lei 2.7 billion, which represents 21.6% of the total, followed by the companies registered in Ilfov (7.4% of the total), Brasov (6.8% of total), Arad (6% of the total) and Galati (5.1% of the total). Together, the top 5 counties generated 47% of the local recycling turnover in 2020.

The number of recycling companies that reported their annual results increased by 1.7% compared to 2019 and was 2.6% higher than in 2016, to 3.5 thousand companies in 2020 (based on data available in April 2022). The number of insolvencies decreased by 7.8% compared to 2019 and by 34% compared to 2016, to 59 in 2020.

Record recycling net result in 2020

The net result of the recycling industry (net profit minus net loss) increased by 38% compared to 2019 and was 95% above the 2016 level, to the record level of lei 748 million in 2020. Of the 3.5 thousand companies analysed, 1,970 recorded profit (56%), 1.1 thousand losses (31%), while the rest reported a null result in 2020.

2020 leader board

HAMMERER  ALUMINIUM INDUSTRIES SANTANA SRL remained the leader in 2020 despite an annual 0.4% decrease in turnover, to lei 573 million. Second and third rank REMATHOLDING CO SRL (lei 315 million) and SUPERCOM SA (lei 282 million), the latter recording the largest annual percentage and nominal increase in turnover in the top 10 of 28%, respectively lei 62 million, thus rising from 10th place in 2019, to 3rd in 2020.

Romanian recycling, second to last in the EU

On average, an European citizen generated the equivalent of about 7 tonnes of waste in 2018, according to the latest data from Eurostat. Romania ranked 6th, with the equivalent of 11.5 tonnes per capita, but of these, Romania recorded the largest share of mineral waste in the European Union: 90.3% of total waste generated. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan represents an opportunity to re-technologize the mining and extraction activities to make production more efficient: increased performance with a lower environmental footprint”, said KeysFin analysts.

Continuing with the European perspective more than half of the waste (54.6%) was recovered via recycling (37.9%), backfilling operations (10.7%) or energy recovery (6%). Of the remaining 45.4%, most of the waste, respectively 38.4% of the total was disposed of via landfill. If Italy and Belgium have recycling rates of over 75%, Romania ranks second to last in the EU with a recycling rate of 3.2% of total waste generated.

The largest share of waste generated, of 95.5% is disposed of via landfill, Romania being second in the European Union after Bulgaria where the indicator is at 96.6%. At the other end, Slovenia, and Denmark with 3.7% and 5.9% of waste disposed of via landfill in 2018.

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