Directive 2006/12/EC on waste has been revised in order to modernise and streamline its provisions.
The revised Directive 2008/98/EC sets the basic concepts and definitions related to waste managament and lays down waste management principles such as the "polluter pays principle" or the "waste hierarchy".
In 2006, Directive 75/442/EEC on waste has been codified. Codification is a process by which legal texts that have been revised several times are codified into one new text that replaces all the previous versions. No legal or political changes are made to the text during the codification process. The new codified Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2006/12/EC) is now the only legally valid version of the Waste Framework Directive and will remain so until the substantive proposal for a revision is adopted.
As a first step in the implementation of the Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste, the Commission proposes revising the 1975 Waste Framework Directive to set recycling standards and to include an obligation for EU Member States to develop national waste prevention programmes. This revision will also merge, streamline and clarify legislation, contributing to better regulation. All steps of the revision process can be followed in Pre-Lex or in the Legislative Observatory of the European Parliament..
Main steps of the revision process:
As part of its Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste of 21 December 2005, the Commission adopted a proposal for revision of the Waste Framework Directive which set out a mechanism to tackle one of the issues around the waste definition, relating to setting criteria from when some waste streams cease to be waste (For example, when composted biological waste becomes compost). Instead of also proposing to define by-products in the legal text, the Commission committed itself to coming forward with clear guidance on the issue of waste and by-products, a commitment that is now met with this present Communication. This approach has allowed for greater legal certainty, by leaving the existing case law in place and building on these foundations.
The Communication explains the business and environmental context around by-products. These materials can come from a wide range of business sectors, and can have very different environmental impacts. An incorrect classification could be the cause of environmental damage or unnecessary costs for business.
It then examines part by part the tests set out by the European Court of Justice in the extensive case law on this subject, and explains how the tests can be applied in practice. It gives a number of examples of some materials that can be classified as waste or by-products, explaining how they fit into the legal tests.
The Communication interprets existing law, as set down in the Waste Framework Directive and as interpreted by the European Court of Justice. It does not affect the ongoing revision of the Waste Framework Directive but will enable any changes envisaged to this Directive to be made with a clear understanding of the current legal situation.
End of waste project
The JRC will be working on a project to look at the scientific methodology that could be used to determine end of waste criteria. They will then take some case studies to analyse this criteria. The terms of reference will be available here shortly. A presentation of the project has been prepared by the JRC.
Impacts of classifying municipal incinerators as recovery using an energy efficiency threshold
Letter from Commissioner Stavros Dimas to the European Parliament on additional information concerning the impacts of the proposed classification of municipal waste incinerators as recovery installations using an energy efficiency threshold.
Non-paper submitted to the Council Working Group, explaining the origin and purpose of the proposed energy efficiency threshold for classification of municipal incinerators.
Preparation of guidance on biowaste management
See all information on biodegradable waste pages.
The European List of Waste
European List of Waste (Commission Decision 2000/532/EC) is meant to be a reference nomenclature providing a common terminology throughout the Community with the purpose to improve the efficiency of waste management activities. The LoW serves as a common encoding of waste characteristics in a broad variety of purposes like classification of hazardous wastes, transport of waste, installation permits, decisions about recyclability of the waste or as a basis for waste statistics. In order to simplify and modernise European waste legislation the Commission has conducted a study on the review of the European List of Waste performed by Ökopol GmbH and ARGUS GmbH. The study is providing information on the implementation of the EWL, proposing amendments of the LoW and assessing the impacts of those amendments. Taking into account these results the Commission will prepare the necessary amendments to the List of Waste.
Article 29(5) of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste calls upon the Commission to create a system for sharing information on best practice regarding waste prevention and to develop guidelines in order to assist the Member States in the preparation of their waste prevention programmes. In order to address this requirement, the Commission has set up a website devoted to waste prevention activities.