The transition from a planned to a market economy has been a great challenge for all post-socialist states of the former Eastern Bloc. Public services which were to a major extent previously subsidized by the state needed to be adapted to new economic realities. This paper will present some of the results of a country overview report. This report represents the first working package of the WaTra project, which aims to help understand and develop the waste management systems of selected transition economies. 13 European and post-Soviet countries were chosen with different starting conditions and economic states to investigate which are the crucial factors in enabling the development of modern waste management. The countries considered were compared with each other using indicators of waste management. Waste collection, waste treatment, landfilling, recycling, composting and incinerated waste per capita are the main aspects taken into account and set in relation to economic indicators. Western EU countries generate higher amounts of waste per capita and have higher recycling rates. Landfilling is the major waste treatment method in post-Soviet and Eastern European countries, even among the EU states. The change from practices of only landfilling to modern waste management systems with high recycling and recovery is more recognizable. The more developed a country’s waste management system is, the more waste is generated according to the strengthening of its economy.
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