Summary of the current EU waste legislation
Please note that this is just a summary of relevant EU Waste legislation. Do note that later amendments are not included in these links and for a full analysis, all need to be assessed. More EU legislation and in all EU languages can be found here
The Lisbon Treaty, environment and waste
The Lisbon Treaty states that the Environment should be a policy of shared competences between the Union and the Member States (Art. 4(2)(e) TFEU).
The Treaty of Lisbon clarifies that one of the Union’s objectives is to work for the sustainable development of Europe , based in particular, on high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. Although the idea of sustainable development was included in the previous treaties, the Treaty of Lisbon reinforces and defines this objective better. With the Treaty of Lisbon, combating climate change also became a specific objective of EU environmental policy.
The European Union's environment policy is based on Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). It aims to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to protect human health. It also focuses on the careful and rational use of natural resources and to tackle climate change. It is based on the precautionary, preventive action, correction at source and "polluter pays" principles.
Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive)
The Directive establishes a legal framework for the treatment of waste in the EU. It sets the basic concepts and definitions related to waste management and lays down waste management principles for all other EU legislation related to waste, such as the "polluter pays principle" and the "waste hierarchy". It sets the framework for waste management in Member States, including the extended producers responsibility. The Directive came into force on 12 December 2010.
Commission Communication of 21 February 2007 on the Interpretative Communication on waste and by-products [COM(2007) 59]
This Communication distinguishes between waste and by-products as a non-waste in a production process context based on article 5 of the WFD. This Communication seeks to guide competent authorities in making case by case judgments on whether a given material is a waste. In addition to explain the definition of waste, other terms are discussed, notably:
Product: all material that is deliberately created in a production process.
Production residue: a material that is not deliberately produced in a production process but may or not be a waste.
By-product: a production residue that is not a waste.
Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste
The Directive is intended to prevent or reduce the adverse effects of the landfill of waste on the environment. It defines the different categories of waste (municipal waste, hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and inert waste) and applies to all landfills. Landfills are divided into three classes: landfills for hazardous waste; landfills for non-hazardous waste and landfills for inert waste. The Directive obliges Member States to minimize biodegradable waste to landfills to 75% by 2006, 50% by 2009 and 35% by 2016, and to treat it before disposal. The Directive also defines wastes which are not to be accepted in any landfill and sets up a system of operating permits for landfill sites. The Directive come fully into force on 16 August 2009.
Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste (WID)
The European Union imposes strict operating conditions and technical requirements on waste incineration plants and waste co-incineration plants to prevent or reduce air, water and soil pollution caused by the incineration or co-incineration of waste. The directive requires a permit for incineration and co-incineration plants, and emission limits are introduced for certain pollutants released to air or to water.
European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste
The Directive sets out measures and requirements for the prevention, re-use and recovery of packaging wastes in Member States. It seeks to harmonise national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste to provide a high level of environmental protection and ensure the functioning of the internal market. Member States must ensure that packaging placed on the market complies with the essential requirements: to limit the weight and volume of packaging to a minimum; to reduce the content of hazardous substances; to design reusable or recoverable packaging. The Directive implies the producer responsibility principle.
Directive 2012/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Directive)
This Directive aims to provide incentives to improve the design of electrical and electronic equipment to facilitate recycling. It was introduced to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery in order to reduce the quantity of such waste. It shifts responsibility for WEEE to the producers, giving them the obligation to recycle electrical and electronic equipment that consumers return to them free of charge.
Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (ROHS Directive)
A recast of this Directive is currently going on, which will change the content. This Directive covers the same scope as the WEEE Directive (except for medical devices and monitoring and control instruments). This Directive requires the substitution of various heavy metals by other substances in new electrical and electronic equipment entering the market. Every four years the Commission undertakes an assessment of the exemptions in order to check whether the exemptions are still justified in light of technical and scientific progress. Member States are to determine the penalties applicable to breaches of this Directive. This is a product Directive, not a waste Directive.
Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC
The Directive prohibits the placing on the market of most batteries and accumulators with a certain mercury or cadmium content and establishes rules for the collection, recycling, treatment and disposal of batteries and accumulators. The aim is to cut the amount of hazardous substances, in particular, mercury, cadmium and lead, dumped in the environment; this should be done by reducing the use of these substances in batteries and accumulators and by treating and re-using the amounts that are used. The Directive implies the producer responsibility principle.
Directive 2000/53/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on end-of-life vehicles
The Directive aims to limit the production of waste arising from end-of-life vehicles and to increase re-use, recycling and recovery of end-of-life vehicles and their components. The generation of waste from vehicles should be avoided as much as possible. The Directive establishes a collection rate for re-use and recovery of 85% by 2006 and 95% by 2015. While the rate for re-use and recycling has been set up to 80% by 2006 and 85% by 2015. The Directive implies the manufacturers product responsibility.
Directive 2005/64/EC on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their re-usability, recyclability and recoverability
The Directive requires vehicle manufacturers to comply with minimum thresholds for the re-use, recycling and recovery of the component parts and materials of new vehicles. The aim is to ensure that vehicles are designed to facilitate processing at the end of their life cycle. In accordance with this Directive, vehicles may be put on the market only if they are re-usable and/or recyclable to a minimum of 85% by mass or are re-usable and/or recoverable to a minimum of 95% by mass. This is a manufacturers product responsibility.
Council Directive 86/278/EEC of 12 June 1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture
The Directive regulates the use of sewage sludge in agriculture to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and humans. In particular it sets maximum values of concentrations of heavy metals and bans the spreading of sewage sludge when the concentration of certain substances in the soil exceeds these values. Sludge from small sewage-treatment plants, which treat primarily domestic waste water, can represent danger to the environment.
Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and the Council of 3 October 2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption (ABP)
This Regulation aims to guarantee a high standard of health and safety throughout the food chain. It includes conditions for the waste phase specifying suitable treatment for specified risk categories. This is the Waste Directive for animal by-products when exempted from WFD (art. 2.2.b-c and art. 2.1.f). This Regulation therefore establishes strict health rules for the use of animal by-products, so as to ensure a high level of health and safety. This Regulation lays down the health and surveillance rules applicable to the collection, transport, storage, handling, processing and use or disposal of animal by-products; as well as the placing on the market and, in certain specific cases, the export and transit of animal by-products and products derived there from. The waste treatment of animal by-products in biodegradable operations is to follow the rules in this Directive.
Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions (IED)
The IED is the successor of the IPPC Directive. It concerns the minimization of pollution from industrial activities, defined in Annex I of the Directive. Operators of these industrial installations are required to obtain an integrated permit from the authorities in the EU countries and meet certain basic obligations. The IED entered into force on 6 January 2011 and must be transposed into national legislation by Member States by 7 January 2013.
Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste
This Regulation aims at strengthening, simplifying and specifying the procedures for controlling waste shipments to improve environmental protection. It sets out a system of control for the movement of waste. The Regulation specifies the documentation to be provided and the security measures to be taken during transportation. The system must take into account the principles of self-sufficiency, proximity of waste for disposal and prior informed consent. This should reduce the risk of waste shipments not being controlled. The Regulation concerns almost all types of waste shipped, including national and transit transports, except radioactive waste and a few other types of waste. It is based on the International Basel Convention.
Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues
It addresses in detail the legal, financial and practical responsibilities of the different operators involved in delivery of ship-generated waste and cargo residues in European Union ports. A waste reception and handling plan must be drawn up in each port following consultations with the relevant parties, and it must be approved and assessed by the Member States.
Directive 2006/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the management of waste from extractive industries (Mining Directive)
The Directive aims at minimizing negative effects on the environment and human health from the treatment and disposal of mining and quarrying waste. This is the Waste Directive for mining waste which is exempted from the WFD. This extractive waste must be managed in specialised facilities in compliance with specific rules. Operators of such facilities are subject to liability in respect of environmental damage caused by their operation. Member States shall take every precaution to limit risks to public health and the environment related to the operation of extractive waste processing facilities, inter alia by applying the concept of “best available techniques”. The Directive covers the planning, licensing, operation, closure and after-care of waste facilities and provides for a major-accident policy for high-risk facilities. Inventories of closed facilities posing serious risks to the environment and health have also to be drawn up by Member States.
Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2002 on waste statistics
This Regulation creates a framework for the production of waste management statistics at EU level. This framework provides the European Union with regular and comparable data in order to monitor the implementation of the Community policy on the generation, recovery and disposal of waste.