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Review of Waste Policy and Legislation

On 2 July 2014, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal and annex to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, the Landfill Directive 1999//31/EC and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC.

The aim of the proposal is to help turn Europe into a circular economy, boost recycling, secure access to raw materials and create jobs and economic growth. It does so by setting ambitious targets and adding key provisions on the instruments to achieve and to monitor them. The proposal is presented as part of the circular economy package.

The main elements of the proposal include:

  • Recycling and preparing for re-use of municipal waste to be increased to 70 % by 2030;  
  • Recycling and preparing for re-use of packaging waste to be increased to 80 % by 2030, with material-specific targets set to gradually increase between 2020 and 2030 (to reach 90 % for paper by 2025 and 60% for plastics, 80% for wood, 90% of ferrous metal, aluminium and glass by the end of 2030);
  • Phasing out landfilling by 2025 for recyclable (including plastics, paper, metals, glass and bio-waste) waste in non hazardous waste landfills – corresponding to a maximum landfilling rate of 25%;
  • Measures aimed at reducing food waste generation by 30 % by 2025;
  • Introducing an early warning system to anticipate and avoid possible compliance difficulties in Member States;
  • Promoting the dissemination of best practices in all Member States, such as better use of economic instruments (e.g. landfill/incineration taxes, pay-as-you-throw schemes, incentives for municipalities) and improved separate collection;
  • Improving traceability of hazardous waste;
  • Increasing the cost-effectiveness of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes by defining minimum conditions for their operation;
  • Simplifying reporting obligations and alleviating burdens faced by SMEs;
  • Improving the reliability of key statistics through harmonised and streamlined calculation of targets; 
  • Improving the overall coherence of waste legislation by aligning definitions and removing obsolete legal requirements.

Key documents:

Several studies were carried out in support of the waste policy review:


The review of waste policy and legislation covers two main elements:

  1. A review of key targets and related elements in the EU waste legislation (in line with the review clauses in the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive and the Packaging Directive); 
  2. An ex-post evaluation ("fitness check") of five of the EU Directives dealing with separate waste streams: sewage sludge, PCB/PCT, packaging and packaging waste, end of life vehicles, and batteries;

This review is informed by the 'aspirational objectives' set out in the Resource Efficiency Roadmap recently confirmed in the 7th Environmental Action Programme, as well as by the objective to ensure safe/sustainable access to raw materials as one of the key contributions to the Raw Materials Initiative. It also builds on the response to the 2013 Green Paper on a European Strategy on plastic waste in the Environment and the 2011 Communication on the implementation of the Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste.

Commission's Roadmap for the review process

The context, problem definition, objectives, options, initial assessment of impacts, as well as the evidence base and planning are described in the "Roadmap for the Review of Waste Policy and Legislation" established by the Commission.

Committee of the Regions Outlook Opinion on the Waste Review

On 4 July 2013, the Committee of the Regions adopted an Outlook Opinion on the review of the European Union's key waste targets.

Public consultation

A public consultation concerning the waste target review took place in 2013.


To help prepare the review DG Environment, together with the European Environment Agency, commissioned the development of a model of municipal waste generation and management for all EU Member States. In this framework, the model was used to develop scenarios for the review, based on waste management situations in the different EU Member States and to quantify the impacts on the environment (including greenhouse gas emissions), job creation and costs. The model will remain an important tool for strategic planning of waste management policies at European and national levels. Additional information can be found from the following website:

Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a key instrument in support of the implementation of the waste policy and of the achievement of EU legal targets. Yet there are important differences in terms of performances (cost effectiveness, transparency, and contribution to national and local waste policies) of EPR schemes across the EU Member States.

In support of the waste policy review, the Commission has commissioned a study "Development of guidance on Extended Producer Responsibility". This study aims at identifying good practices and common principles to improve the implementation of EPR in Europe. Project website:

The main deliverables are available at :

  • final report
  • 36 case studies focusing on different waste streams (ELV, WEEE, Batteries, Packaging, Paper, Used Oil)
  • stakeholders' consultation documents.