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Waste Framework Directive

End-of-waste criteria

What are the end-of-waste criteria, and why are they needed?

End-of-waste criteria specify when certain waste ceases to be waste and obtains a status of a product (or a secondary raw material).

According to Article 6 (1) and (2) of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, certain specified waste shall cease to be waste when it has undergone a recovery (including recycling) operation and complies with specific criteria to be developed in line with certain legal conditions, in particular:

  • the substance or object is commonly used for specific purposes;
  • there is an existing market or demand for the substance or object;
  • the use is lawful (substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the specific purposes and meets the exisitng legislation and standards applicable to products);
  • the use will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.

Such criteria should be set for specific materials by the Commission using the procedure described in Article 39(2) of the Waste Framework Directive (so called "comitology"). A mandate to set end-of-waste criteria was introduced to provide a high level of environmental protection and an environmental and economic benefit. They aim to further encourage recycling in the EU by creating legal certainty and a level playing field as well as removing unnecessary administrative burden.

How are the end-of-waste criteria being developed?

A methodology to develop the criteria has been elaborated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC reports).

After having agreed this methodology with the Member States, the Commission is now preparing a set of end-of-waste criteria for priority waste streams. The criteria have been laid down for:

Next waste streams to be addressed include copper scrap metal, recovered paper, glass cullet, plastics and biodegradable waste / compost.The Joint Research Centre has submitted reports with technical proposals for the end-of-waste criteria on copper scrap metal, recovered paper, glass cullet and is conducting further studies biodegradable waste/compost and plastic . This work is accompanied by working groups on each waste stream with experts from Member States and stakeholders.

How can I contribute or be informed?

For any questions concerning the work on the end-of-waste criteria please use the functional mailbox jrc-ipts-end-of-waste@ec.europa.eu.