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Waste Management Planning

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 and is required by Article 28 of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD). Member States can ask the regional or local authorities to draw up regional or local plans. The plans shall cover the entire geographical territory of a Member State and need to be in line with the provisions of Article 1 WFD (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 WFD (the waste management hierarchy), Article 13 WFD (protection of human health and environment), and Article 16 WFD (principles of self-sufficiency and proximity).

Article 28(3) WFD lists the mandatory elements of a waste management plan. Article 28(4) WFD lists additional elements which may be contained in the plan.

Some basic administrative rules concerning waste management planning:

  • Waste management plans need to be evaluated at least every sixth year and revised as appropriate.
  • Relevant stakeholders and authorities and the general public must have an opportunity to participate in the elaboration of the plans, and have access to them once elaborated. The plans shall be placed on a publicly available website.
  • Member States shall inform the Commission of the waste management plans, once adopted, and of any substantial revisions to the plans.

How to prepare a waste management plan?

In order to assist national, regional and local competent authorities in preparing waste management plans in line with the requirements of the WFD, the Commission has published a methodological Guidance Note. The Note is non-binding 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 Note is available in English.

In addition, the following studies provide further practical recommendations based on the assessment of a set of national, regional and local plans from several Member States conducted in 2015-2018:

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 Framework Directive) is available in the following languages:

en (pdf~600K)

Where to send a waste management plan?

According to Article 33 WFD, Member States shall inform the Commission of their waste management plans and waste prevention programmes once adopted and of any substantial revisions to those plans and programmes.

Member States can send their waste management plans and waste prevention programmes (including electronic links to those plans and programmes) to the functional mailbox: They can use a format for notifying the information on the adoption and substantial revisions of the plans and programmes adopted by the Commission.