Europe needs to set higher targets for the recycling or re-use of materials such as cotton, environmental campaigners have said, after research found excessive amounts being sent to incineration and landfill.

A report published by Friends of the Earth Europe found that the European Union (EU) currently landfills and incinerates 60% of municipal waste - which contributes to demand for more raw materials.

In the case of textiles, for example, Europeans discard 5.8m tonnes every year, with 75% going to landfill or incineration and only 25% being recycled.

The study concludes that in order to move to a zero-waste Europe, higher recycling targets need to be accompanied by targets for reuse and waste prevention.

"Europe is still stuck in a system where valuable materials, many of which come at a high environmental and social cost, end up in landfill or incineration," said Ariadna Rodrigo, resource use campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.

Recycling targets are a good start, but reusing products and materials and preventing waste in the first place won't be the norm until we have EU targets for these too."

Friends of the Earth Europe believes waste prevention, along with product and material reuse and recycling, with bans on landfill and incineration practices, are the best ways to achieve the sustainable use of resources in Europe.