Waste management planning is the cornerstone of any national, regional or local policy on waste management. The establishment of a plan allows taking stock of the existing situation, defining the objectives that need to be met, formulating appropriate strategies, and identifying the necessary implementation means.
The drawing up of waste management plans is an obligation of EU Member States, who can ask regional authorities to draw up regional plans, and is required by Article 28 of the Waste Framework Directive. The Directive sets out that the plans shall cover the entire geographical territory of a Member State and need to be in line with the provisions of Article 1 (protection of environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste and by reducing overall impacts of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use), Article 4 (the waste management hierarchy), Article 13 (protection of human health and environment), and Article 16 (principles of self-sufficiency and proximity).
The plans shall set out an analysis of the current waste management situation in the geographical entity concerned, as well as measures to be taken to improve environmentally sound preparing for re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal of waste. They shall contain an evaluation of how the plan will support the implementation of the objectives and provisions of the Waste Framework Directive.
Article 28(3) lists mandatory elements each plan must contain. Article 28(4) lists additional elements which may be contained in the plan.
In order to assist national, regional and local competent authorities in preparing waste management plans, the Commission has published a methodological Guidance Note. The Note is of a non-binding nature and promotes more coherent and appropriate planning practices in the Member States and Accession Countries, in compliance with the requirements of the EU legislation.
The 2012 Guidance Note, based on the requirements of the 2008 Waste Framework Directive, is available in English.
For information, the old Guidance Note, dating back to 2003 and based on the requirements of Directive 2006/12/EC (predecessor of the current Waste Framewrok Directive), is available in the following languages: