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  • Circular Economy: the Commission delivers technical guidance on classification of waste as announced in the Communication on the implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation.
  • Representatives of Member States and of Stakeholders will participate in a meeting of the Expert Group on Waste (Batteries), scheduled for the next 14 of March, where the initial findings of the Study in Support of the Evaluation of the Batteries Directive will be presented
  • Notice to stakeholders withdrawal of the United Kingdom an EU waste law
  • Notice to stakeholders - Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of industrial products
  • Conference: "Municipal waste management and waste prevention"
  • Circular Economy: Commission delivers on its promises, offers guidance on recovery of energy from waste.The package also contains a proposal to update legislation to restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
  • (RoHS Directive). Press release
  • 29 January 2016 - Conference on Separate Waste Collection in the Context of a Circular Economy in Europe. Read more...
  • New study shows Capitals of Slovenia, Finland and Estonia as top performers in separate waste collection. Read more...
  • Commission helps 8 Member States to improve their municipal waste management. Read more...
  • Closing the loop: Commission adopts ambitious new Circular Economy Package to boost competitiveness, create jobs and generate sustainable growth. Read more...
  • The European Parliament objected to the Commission draft Delegated Directive C(2015) 383 final amending, for the purposes of adapting to technical progress, Annex III to Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards an exemption for cadmium in illumination and display lighting applications. Therefore, current exemption 39 of Annex III remains valid until a decision on the renewal application is taken by the Commission.
  • Exemption n. 7(b) of Annex III to RoHS directive: application for renewal was withdrawn by the applicant. Since no other applications were submitted for this exemption, the Commission services closed the related renewal procedure. Exemption n. 7(b) of RoHS 2 Annex III will expire on 21/07/2016 for categories 1 to 7 and 10 of RoHS Annex I.
  • Several requests to renew exemptions under the RoHS 2 directive 2011/65/EU were submitted in the period 07 October 2014 to 21 January 2015 - Table updated on the 31/03/2015

News archive

In Europe, we currently use 16 tonnes of material per person per year, of which 6 tonnes become waste. Although the management of that waste continues to improve in the EU, the European economy currently still loses a significant amount of potential 'secondary raw materials' such as metals, wood, glass, paper, plastics present waste streams. In 2010, total waste production in the EU amounted to 2,5 billion tons. From this total only a limited (albeit increasing) share (36%) was recycled, with the rest was landfilled or burned, of which some 600 million tons could be recycled or reused.

Just in terms of household waste alone, each person in Europe is currently producing, on average, half of tonne of such waste. Only 40 % of it is reused or recycled and in some countries more than 80% still goes to landfill (source: Environmental Data Centre on Waste, Eurostat).

Turning waste into a resource is one key to a circular economy. The objectives and targets set in European legislation have been key drivers to improve waste management, stimulate innovation in recycling, limit the use of landfilling, and create incentives to change consumer behaviour. If we re-manufacture, reuse and recycle, and if one industry's waste becomes another's raw material, we can move to a more circular economy where waste is eliminated and resources are used in an efficient and sustainable way.

Improved waste management also helps to reduce health and environmental problems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions (directly by cutting emissions from landfills and indirectly by recycling materials which would otherwise be extracted and processed), and avoid negative impacts at local level such as landscape deterioration due to landfilling, local water and air pollution, as well as littering.

The European Union's approach to waste management is based on the "waste hierarchy" which sets the following priority order when shaping waste policy and managing waste at the operational level: prevention, (preparing for) reuse, recycling, recovery and, as the least preferred option, disposal (which includes landfilling and incineration without energy recovery).

In line with this the 7th Environment Action Programme sets the following priority objectives for waste policy in the EU:

  • To reduce the amount of waste generated; 
  • To maximise recycling and re-use;
  • To limit incineration to non-recyclable materials;
  • To phase out landfilling to non-recyclable and non-recoverable waste;
  • To ensure full implementation of the waste policy targets in all Member States.

The following webpages describe the main elements of EU waste legislation in more detail:

  • Waste framework legislation
  • Waste stream legislation
  • Landfilling and incineration
  • Shipment of waste
  • Implementation and reporting
  • Review of EU waste policy
  • Studies/publications/links

The development and implementation of EU waste policy and legislation takes place within the context of a number of wider EU policies and programmes including 7th Environment Action Programme, the Resource Efficiency Roadmap  and the Raw Materials Initiative.

Brochure: The EU’s approach to waste management