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Studies on waste

Waste in general

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Study to improve hazardous waste management based on an assessment of Member States' performance (2017)

The overall aim of this study is to enable and foster information exchange regarding hazardous waste and PCB management practices between the Member States improving current hazardous waste and PCB management and supporting the achievement of the current requirements of the EU waste legislation. Based on the study’s results and in particular the good practices identified from the Member States, the study elaborates recommendations for Member States and proposes accompanying measures for the European Commission to improve hazardous waste and PCB management in the European Union.

The study focusses on hazardous waste management in 14 EU Member States (Bulgaria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom), summarised in "factsheets" confirmed with the Competent Authority of each selected Member State.

Documents on policy recommendations, so-called “roadmaps” were also developed for the 14 selected Member States. These roadmaps contain a summary of the most important information from the respective factsheet together with a list of the major challenges, recommendations on policy options to tackle these challenges as well as corresponding good practices from other Member States.

Overall improvement actions for hazardous waste management practices in the European Union are presented.

Detailed assessments of waste management plans: summary reports

Waste management planning is one of the key tools for authorities to convert the principles of EU waste legislation at national, regional and local level within their Member State. The Member States’ authorities are obliged to establish in accordance with Articles 1, 4, 13 and 16 of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) one or more waste management plans (WMP). The plans shall − alone or in combination − cover the entire geographical territory of the Member State concerned, shall set out an analysis of the current waste management situation in the geographical entity concerned, as well as the measures to be taken with respect to environmentally sound preparation for re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal of waste, and an evaluation of how the plan will support the implementation of the objectives and provisions of the Directive.

Article 28 of the WFD defines both the mandatory and optional requirements and the content of the WMP. In addition Article 29 requires the establishment of a waste prevention programme (WPP), integrated either into the WMP, into other environmental programs or as a separate programme. Furthermore, Member States shall inform the Commission of the WMP and WPP and of its revisions. The aim of the project has been to assist the Commission in the assessment of the completeness and conformity of waste management plans at national, regional and local level, as well as sectoral plans, if necessary, with the legal requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and other key EU waste legislation. The objective was to identify a list of essential gaps and provide recommendations that would ensure that these plans fulfil the requirements and objectives of the EU waste legislation. The assessment exercise has been part of a broader strategy with the objectives to improve compliance and implementation of EU waste legislation and to provide support to Member States in their efforts to improve compliance. Further, the assessment of the WMPs is an important factor to be considered in the context of applications for EU regional funding.

Study on the efficient functioning of waste markets in the EU, final report July 2016

The study analyses the scope for improvements of the internal market in waste recycling and recovery. The study has been prepared by ARCADIS in cooperation with Trinomics. The information and views set out in the study are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission.

The findings of the study are based on a public on-line stakeholder consultation (Your voice in Europe survey) and work-shops with stakeholders, public authorities, industry and NGOs. Case studies illustrate the functioning of requirements of EU waste legislation which are relevant for the internal market, such as the notification procedure for shipments of hazardous waste and information requirements for shipments of non-hazardous waste, see further p. 45 etc. of the study.

The study recommends a number of solutions for improving the functioning the EU's waste markets, ranging from more to less far-reaching options.

The conclusions and recommendations of the study will form the basis for future actions by the Commission to ensure the efficient functioning of waste markets in the EU and will be considered when preparing the review of the EU waste shipment regulation 1013/2006/EC, see further Article 60(2)a.

Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 27 capitals of the EU (2015)

As of 2015 Member States are obliged to separately collect paper, glass, metal and plastic with a view to foster high quality recycling of these materials. In a study on law and practise of separate collection 27 Capitals the Commission takes stock marking a starting point of intensified discussion with Member States on this crucial element of circular economy.

Study to improve hazardous waste management based on an assessment of Member States' performance (2015)

The study provides an overview of the state of hazardous waste management in the 27 EU Member States, summarised in "factsheets" (drafted for 10 Member States selected for in-depth assessment) or "screening documents" (drafted for 18 Member States).

In the first part of the study, the countries' performance on hazardous waste management was assessed on the basis of a methodology tailored for the purposes of this study.
In the second part of the study, the focus was on analysing and explaining a worrying finding of the study, which is that the gap between generated hazardous waste and treated hazardous waste in the EU was, based on 2012 data collected by Eurostat, 26 million tonnes, equivalent to about 26% of the total generated amount of hazardous waste. Therefore a detailed analysis of the hazardous waste management practices of 10 countries (Luxembourg, Ireland, Latvia, Italy, United Kingdom; Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands – i.e. the five countries with the biggest gap as concerns generation and treatment and the five countries with the smallest gap) was undertaken.

An overall conclusion and improvement actions for HW management practices in all the Member States are presented.

Study to assess the impacts of different classification approaches for hazard property "H 14" on selected waste streams (2015)

The legislation governing waste classification was reviewed at the end of 2014 in order to adapt it to technical and scientific progress and to align, to the extent possible, to Regulation 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures.

One issue left out of the review of the legislation governing waste classification was the hazardous property H 14 (ecotoxicity) of Annex III of Directive 2008/98/EC. The Commission considered that further information was needed in order to propose a well-grounded and justified definition of criteria for H 14, and, if appropriate, align the Decision and the Directive with the CLP criteria.

A study was undertaken by Bio by Deloitte and Ineris on behalf of DG Environment to provide an assessment of the impacts of changing the criteria for the definition of ecotoxicity for waste.

Study to develop a guidance document on the definition and classification of waste (2015)

The legislation concerning waste classification has been recently reviewed. Those involved in the production, assessment, management and regulation of hazardous waste are in need of a comprehensive reference manual which provides technical guidance on the assessment and classification of hazardous waste.

The objective of this study was to assist the Commission in the development of such a guidance document, based on a thorough analysis of the legislative framework, the relevant literature and, if needed, field research, and contributions from experts (from competent authorities, testing laboratories, industry and waste management practitioners).

Study on Resource Efficient Use of Mixed Wastes (2015)

The aim of the study, launched in January 2015, is to assess the current CDW management situation in EU Member States, identifying obstacles to recycling and potential deficiencies that could lead to non-compliance with EU waste legislation. Good practices in terms of creating conditions for increasing CDW recycling and for improving the quality of recycling and recovery will be identified and a set of recommendations to address potential barriers will be formulated. In parallel, success stories of efficient CDW management will be showcased in 6 case studies, illustrating key elements for success, as well as the necessary preconditions. Finally, the credibility of official CDW statistics will be assessed, identifying the sources of inaccuracy and proposing measures for improvement. The outcome of the study will be discussed at a seminar in May 2016  in Brussels. The study shall be finished in August 2016.

Assisting Member States in improving waste management based on an assessment of their waste policy performance (2013)

Launched as part of the Commission's efforts to ensure proper implementation of EU waste legislation, this study aims at supporting EU Member States with the largest implementation gaps. It comprises  the following phases:

  1. 1.Identifying objective criteria to assess the waste management situation in all Member States;
  2. 2.Screening of Member States according to these criteria in order to provide a 'scoreboard' and identify the 10 Member States with the largest implementation gaps. The screening report is available from the following link. Press release - Municipal waste Management.
  3. 3.Issuing, for these 10 Member States, concrete policy recommendations/Roadmaps and organising 10 bilateral meetings with relevant authorities in the respective capitals to discuss the way forward (autumn 2012); 
  4. 4.Finalising the study and organising a final meeting with representatives of the 10 Member States (March/April 2013).

The study was launched in December 2011 and should be finalised in May 2013.

Development of guidance on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) (2012)

The study started in December 2012 and had a duration of 15 months.

The aims of the study are to:

  • Describe, compare and analyse different types of EPR systems in the EU.
  • Identify necessary conditions and best practices for the functioning of EPR systems.
  • Propose and assess options to promote an optimal use of EPR in the EU.

The study is structured as follows:

  • European overview of existing EPR schemes in 27 MS (benchmark)
  • In-depth evaluation of 36 case studies in (focusing on 6  waste streams:  Packaging, WEEE, ELVs, batteries, paper, oils
  • Identifying the main optimal characteristics for EPR schemes, options for common approach (“golden rules”)

Project website

Implementing EU waste legislation for green growth (2011)

This study contains an in-depth analysis of the effects of proper implementation and enforcement of EU waste legislation, both in terms of the economic, social and environmental benefits of implementing EU waste legislation as well as through a number of specific case studies in Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. The study also describes the necessary tasks to be carried out in order to overcome current implementation barriers and includes a number of options on how to deal with these tasks.

European List of Waste

Feasibility of the establishment of a Waste Implementation Agency (2009)

Other Waste Studies


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Biodegradable Waste

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  • The Commission supports extensive research in the area of biodegradable waste and bio-based industries, including bioplastics. There is substantial potential for research projects on bioplastics under the Seventh Framework Programme (2006 - 2010) across several themes, and particularily from the biorefinery and microbial routes. For more information on Community funding opportunities for research, see here. For more information on Community funding opportunities for bio-based industries, see here.
  • Economic analysis of options for managing biodegradable municipal waste (2003) 

Construction and Demolition Waste

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End of Life Vehicles

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Extended Producer Responsibility

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The final versions of the deliverables of the Eunomia study to support the preparation of the Commission's guidance on the implementation of the general minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility schemes set out in Article 8a of the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC:

This report was commissioned to inform the Commission in the process of developing guidelines on the same topic planned for 2020. The report is the opinion of the consultant and does not bind the Commission.

Household waste

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Extractive waste

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Packaging and Packaging Waste

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POPs - Persistent Organic Pollutants

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Separate collection

Final deliverable of the study to support the Commission in establishing guidelines for separate collection of waste.

The guidance document is completed by a database of good practices for separate collection (excel file allowing the user to sort the identified common practices on various parameters).

The report is the opinion of the consultant and does not bind the Commission.

The Commission is in the process of preparing guidelines to assist and facilitate Member States in the separate collection of hazardous waste fractions produced by households as required in article 20(4) of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC (WFD). These guidelines will take into account this study.

Concerning other waste streams covered by current or upcoming separate collection obligations, the Commission’s next steps are guided by the new ambition set out in the recently adopted European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan where the Commission has committed to assess the feasibility of setting an EU reference model harmonising separate waste collection systems. In view of that, the Commission will now deepen its work on separate collection and related issues, using this report as one of the building block. This new phase will include an intensive consultation process with Member States and relevant stakeholders in the next months, as well as further technical work.


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  • Green paper on Plastic Waste – results of the consultation (2013)

Final report (pdf ~ 1 Mb)


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