Despite expensive producer responsibility laws, landfill taxes and other recycling mandates in Europe, only a handful of countries are nearing the 50% recycling mark, according to studies (1998) from the Resource Recovery Forum, funded by the UK's landfill tax. The studies found that Austria , Germany and the Netherlands had combined recycling/composting rates of about 48% in 1996; Switzerland's was 42%, while Spain was at about 22% in 1997. The United Kingdom showed the lowest recovery rate at 9% in 1998. By comparison, USA recycles about 30% and Canada about 25%. The studies recommend that to improve recovery rates, governments needed to implement major landfill bans of various materials, variable fee or "pay per can" collection schemes, and fund more education and market development.
In 2003, Germany collected more than 95% of sales packaging for recovery with the Duales System Deutschland (DSD), which collects directly from consumers and small businesses. The system is costing industry/consumers about $2 billion per year. DSD's de facto monopoly on sales package recycling is being challenged by new competitors.