Guide to the Approximation of European Union
C. Waste Management
The overall structure for an effective waste management regime is set out in
the Waste Framework Directive and the complementary Hazardous Waste
Directive. These directives establish the framework for waste management
structures, which has been elaborated by two types of 'daughter' directives: One
group sets down requirements for the permitting and operations of waste
disposal facilities. The other group deals with specific types of waste
such as oils, packaging and batteries.
C.1 Framework Directive on Waste
Council Directive 75/442/EEC provides the framework whereby the Member
States could control the disposal of wastes nationally, instead of locally as
before. It was substantially revised and amended in 1991 to provide a legal
framework for the avoidance, management and disposal of wastes as set out in the
Commission's Waste Management Strategy (SEC(89)934, 18.09.89.). The new
framework provides for the adoption of a common terminology and definitions of
waste based on work carried out by the OECD. The Member States must encourage
the prevention or reduction of waste and its harmfulness by encouraging the
development of clean technologies, technical product improvements, and disposal
techniques. They must also encourage the recovery of waste and its use as a
source of energy.
They must prohibit the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled discharge of
waste. To meet the goal of making the European Community self-sufficient in
waste disposal, they must establish an integrated and adequate network of
disposal installations, in co-operation with other Member States and taking
account of the best available technology not involving excessive costs.
The national competent authorities under the Directive must draw up waste
management plans as soon as possible, covering the wastes to be recovered or
disposed of, technical requirements, special arrangements for particular wastes,
and suitable disposal sites or installations. The plans may also include the
persons involved, costs, and measures to encourage rationalisation of
collection, sorting and treatment. The national competent authorities under the
Directive also serve as the permit authorities for establishments carrying out
disposal or recovery operations.
In accordance with the polluter pays principle the costs of waste disposal
must be borne by the holder or the previous holder of the waste.
- The EU waste management system presuppose adequate administrative systems
on national, regional, and local levels, as well as adequate infrastructure for
safe collection, sorting, transport, recycling, materials and energy recovery,
and disposal of all types of waste.
- When preparing national laws, particular attention should be given to the
EU definitions, particularly in establishing 'waste' types/categories, the
definitions of 'management', 'holder', 'collection and 'recovery' and to the
hierarchy of waste treatment principles as well as the principles of polluter
pays, proximity and self-sufficiency.
- Competent Authorities should be designated for the purposes of the Waste
Framework Directive, the Waste Shipment Regulation, and other relevant
waste-related directives. Administrative structures will be needed at the local,
regional and national level.
- Proper implementation will require the consultation and co-operation of
industry, trade, and consumers at large. The public must be informed.
- Waste Management Plans on a regional basis or incorporated into strategic
national waste plans, should be drawn up at an early stage.
- Systems for licensing of waste disposal operations and for waste recovery
operations will need to be set up, as well as registries or licensing systems
for professional waste collectors or transporters, or professional brokers of
disposal and recovery services.
- Clear economic measures, such as taxes, charges and deposit systems would
encourage waste minimisation.
Waste Framework Directive Implementation
National Legislative Framework
- Compare Directive requirements to existing national laws.
- Identify Legislative Gaps.
- One main legislative tool (Waste Management Act);
- Or, section of the relevant legislation governing waste management,
licensing, waste flows, waste reduction.
Competent Authorities (CAs)
- CAs must have administrative systems and technical knowledge.
- The National Authority responsible for uniform waste flow and site
management standards, co-ordinating waste management planning and the collection
of waste statistics.
- Local CAs manage local waste management facilities and waste flows through
co-ordination with the private sector as appropriate.
- National CA to observe EU reporting duties.
- Provide for legal division of jurisdiction of Central and local CA roles.
- Implementation of relevant definitions such as 'waste', 'disposal' and
- legal considerations for drawing up waste management plans.
- Penalties for breaches of permits.
- Consider local monitoring and enforcement measures.
- National CA to provide application forms for waste management site
- Applicant to provide prescribed documentation.
- CA to ensure applicant is appropriate waste management site operator.
- CA to determine conditions which attach to permit including site closure
- CA to monitor site activities and respond to affected party complaints.
- Transporters and dealers are registered
- Ensure that prior to the development of the regime stakeholders are
consulted on waste management needs, proposed waste planning processes and
- Stakeholders should include representatives from waste management firms,
major waste producing sectors, local government, NGOs and other affected
- Ensure regular public communications about initiatives and public role in
- Government to establish CA and administrative support, administration
procedures (permits), public communications.
- Use incentives to encourage producer responsibility, waste minimisation
and apply polluter pays principle.
- Site operators to finance permit processes.
- Households to pay for their waste disposal services.
C.2 Hazardous waste
The principal aim of the Council Directive 91/689/EEC is to formulate a
common definition of hazardous waste and introduce greater harmonisation of the
management of such waste. It lists hazardous wastes, constituents and properties
which render waste hazardous. Establishments which carry out their own waste
disposal will need a license.
Hazardous waste management plans have to be published by the competent
authorities, either as part of the general waste management plan (according to
75/442/EEC) or separately. Member States must require:
registration and identification of every site where hazardous waste is
packaging and labelling according to Community and international standards
when such waste is collected, transported and temporarily stored.
The competent authorities must inspect installations producing and receiving
hazardous waste as well as means of transporting the waste.
- The management of hazardous waste requires specific and stricter licensing
and control procedures.
- National rules for the correct identification and classification of
hazardous waste would have to be developed, as well as requirements and
guidelines for their environmentally sound recovery and disposal.
- Technical capabilities and adequate infrastructures will have to be put in
place to avoid the risk of inadequate recovery or disposal operations caused by
- A centralised data-bank would have to be created in order to fulfil the
obligation to supply information to the EU Commission concerning hazardous waste
and hazardous waste management and disposal contractors.
C.3 Shipment of Waste
Regulation 259/93/EEC on the supervision and control of shipments of waste
within, into and out of the European Community establishes a system for
controlling the movement of waste which implements the Basle Convention, the
OECD Council Decisions on transfrontier movements of waste, and the fourth
ACP-EEC (Lomé) Convention. Whilst the Basle Convention deals only with
hazardous waste, the Regulation also covers shipments of non-hazardous waste.
The Regulation sets up separate regimes governing shipments within the EU,
imports, exports and transit shipments and the different requirements depend on
whether the waste is destined for recovery or disposal, and whether it is listed
in the annexes on the green, amber or red list. In general terms, it can be said
that the amber and red lists consist of hazardous waste and the green list of
non-hazardous waste. These 3 lists resulted from workings of the OECD. When
comparing the 3 lists of waste under the Regulation on the one hand to the
European Waste Catalogue under the Framework Directive and the Hazardous Waste
List under the Hazardous Waste Directive on the other, it can be seen that they
are different in structure. It must however be remembered that the 3 Regulation
lists were drafted for a different purpose to the European Waste Catalogue and
the Hazardous Waste List and that all lists must be applied in full.
- Member States must identify the appropriate competent authority or
authorities to control the movement of wastes under the regulation; these may
involve a combination of customs, industry or trade, and environmental offices.
- They must give guidance to the competent authorities on the documentation,
procedure to be followed for each type of shipment and enforcement of the
controls on transfrontier shipment of waste. A uniform consignment note is
provided for. Special training is likely to be necessary to supplement
- They must adopt procedures for informing and consulting with other
countries concerning waste shipments
- Shippers and manufacturers must be informed about the requirements and
C.4 Waste Disposal Installations
Hazardous Waste Incineration
The Hazardous Waste Incineration Directive 94/67/EEC is a daughter directive
to the Waste Framework Directive. Member States must set and enforce operating
conditions and emission limit values for hazardous waste incineration plants
A permits under the Waste Framework Directive may only be granted if the
incineration plant is designed, equipped and operated in such a manner that
environmental pollution prevention requirements in the form of emission limits
and management controls have been met. Hazardous waste incineration plants must
be operated in order to achieve the maximum level of incineration possible.
Permits must list the types and quantities of hazardous waste being incinerated.
Incinerator operators must receive a comprehensive description of any waste
before they can accept it.
Waste water discharges are also subject to a permit process. Incineration
plant sites are subject the EU Groundwater Directive 80/68/EEC. Emission limit
value exceedances must be notified to the competent authority without delay and
can result in reducing incineration outputs or closing the plant.
- Guidelines for the development of new incineration plants for hazardous
waste must be integrated in the national waste management and air quality
strategies in order to comply with national needs and environmental quality
- Permits should apply the minimum standards set in the directives, taking
local conditions into account.
- Governments should develop additional emission standards in order to take
into account specific technologies or potentially harmful emissions.
- Effective waste management and control procedures must be developed in
order to avoid improper or illegal use of the incinerators for incineration of
kinds of waste for which they are not authorised or equipped. Procedures should
be developed for consultation and co-ordination among the different authorities
responsible for the control of different types of emission to air, water and
- Authorities must develop plans for the use of the heat generated by the
- Programmes must be developed to ensure compliance with the directive's
requirements for existing incineration plants.
Hazardous Waste Incineration Directive Implementation
National Legislative Framework
- Compare directive's requirements to existing laws
- Identify legislative gaps.
Competent Authorities (CAs)
- Revision of the existing administrative infrastructure to implement,
administer and enforce incineration activities.
- National level CA will also have role of ensuring consistent application of
the standards and requirements of the directive.
- CAs will be responsible for permitting, carrying out or supervising
monitoring, information gathering, reporting to the Commission.
- Definition of competent authorities and permit system
- Determination of other emission limits and risk control measures
- Procedures and requirements for monitoring and enforcement.
- Notice requirements for shutdown orders.
- Penalties of incinerator operators.
- Incinerators must be designed, equipped and operated to meet minimum burn
- Monitoring operation, oxygen levels, emissions limit values, waste water
discharges and disposal of residues.
- Require continuous and periodic measurement systems and notification for
exceedances and reporting to CAs
- Ensure that stakeholders are consulted about general implementation
requirements and costs, in particular about the exceedance notification
- Involve the public in the definition of information operators must supply
- Provide for effective communication, on an ongoing basis, of information
about facilities and their operations to the public.
- Government establishes CA and administrative support, monitoring and
assessment, training, enforcement, guidelines and public information.
- Operators to pay administrative costs of permit, provision of information
and all costs of meeting compliance obligations.
Waste Incineration from New and Existing Installations
Directives 89/369/EEC and 89/429/EEC apply parallel sets of permitting
requirements and operating restrictions to new and to existing municipal waste
incineration plants. They are daughter directives to the Framework Directive
84/360/EEC on the combating of air pollution from industrial plants.
They regulates the permitting, design, equipment, operation, and reporting
of municipal waste incineration plants. New plants are those for which an
authorisation to operate was granted on or after 1 December 1990. They exclude
plants used specifically for the incineration of sewage sludge, chemical, toxic
and dangerous waste, medical waste from hospitals or other types of special
waste, even if these plants burn municipal waste as well, because such
incinerators are more stringently regulated under the Directive on Hazardous
Three levels of emission limit values for dust, certain combinations of
heavy metals, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid and S02 are established,
depending on the nominal capacity of the incineration plant. Limit values and a
programme of phased improvement of existing municipal waste incineration plants
within certain time limits are laid down.
They establish extensive requirements for monitoring, inspection and
reporting by the operators of these plants. Information concerning the
application for operating permits and the results of the monitoring must be made
available to the public.
Directive 89/429/EEC on existing municipal waste incinerators gave existing
incinerators until 1 December 1996 to comply with the standards for new
incinerators. All other existing incinerators must meet most of the same
standards as for new incinerators by the year 2000.
- Guidelines for the development of new incineration plants must be
integrated in the national waste management and air quality strategies in order
to comply with environmental quality targets.
- Countries may impose additional emission limits in order to take into
account specific technologies or potentially harmful emissions.
- Waste management and control procedures must be developed in order to avoid
improper or illegal use of the incinerators for incineration of kind of waste
for which they are not authorised or equipped.
- Adequate programmes must be developed to ensure compliance with the
directive's requirements for small 'existing' incineration plants.
Proposed Landfill Directive
A proposal for a Directive on Landfill
is now before Parliament and the Council. It would require all wastes to be
treated before being landfilled. Codisposal (the mixing of hazardous waste with
municipal waste in the same landfill) would be phased out. Prices for landfill
disposal must cover the costs of closing the landfill site as well as
management, and also must cover at least 50 years of care after closure of the
In an effort to reduce EU's total methane emissions, the revised proposal
aims to reduce the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfills;
in addition, methane from both new and existing landfills would have to be
collected and used, or flared off.
- As landfill is the most common and least expensive type of solid waste
disposal, and standards are often lacking, it would be advisable for countries
to align new legislation governing the operation of landfill sites with the
proposed directive. Attention should be given to eventual amendments made to the
proposal by the Council and the European Parliament.
- The requirement of the proposed directive should be integrated with the
national waste strategies and management plans in compliance with the Waste
Framework Directive. Such national plans must identify the sites which fall
outside the scope of the proposed directive.
- An effective strategy to minimise the waste to be landfilled will require
the participation and active support of all economic and social actors. Economic
incentives and educational campaigns will be needed.
- Special provisions in the budget at national or at other level of
administration should be developed to ensure the transparency and the
availability of the after-closure funds to be set up under the directive.
- Liability for health and environmental damage from landfill sites should be
- The environmental impact assessment procedure may be integrated into
procedures for the permitting of projects and installations under the proposed
- Countries will have to develop a strategy for the upgrading or the closure
of existing landfill sites which do not comply with the directive's proposed
minimum requirements. Controls must be intensified to minimise the risk of
illegal landfills which do not comply with the standards.
C.5 Specific Wastes
Disposal of waste oils
Council Directive 75/439/EECaims to create a harmonised system for the
collection, treatment, storage and disposal of waste oils, which allows the
Member States to indemnify companies for the unrecovered costs of collecting and
disposal of waste oils. It gives the highest priority to the regeneration of
waste oils, then to combustion; and last to their destruction or controlled
storage or tipping. Member States must ensure the safe collection and disposal
of waste oils. The discharge of waste oils to waters and drainage systems is
Any undertaking disposing of waste oil must obtain a permit from the
competent authority. Any undertaking collecting waste oils must be registered
and adequately supervised. Regenerated oils may not contain more than 50 parts
per million (ppm) of polychlorinated biphenyls and terphenyls (PCB/PCT).
- The administration would have to ensure the creation of a countrywide
system for the safe collection and regeneration or incineration of used oils all
over the national territory. Public awareness campaigns would also have to be
- Adequate disposal structures and strict control procedure would have to be
put in place in order to avoid illegal or inadequate disposal of the fractions
of oil that cannot be properly regenerated.
- An integrated/co-ordinated permitting and control system would have to be
developed to ensure that operations of recovery or disposal of used oils do not
impact negatively other environmental media.
- Special measures and installations would have to be created for dealing
safely with waste oils containing PCB/PCT or other dangerous substances.
- National authorities would need to agree on the introduction of stricter
requirements at national level. Information on national actions and experiences
would have to be submitted to the Commission regularly.
Titanium Dioxide Waste
The Titanium Dioxide Directives 78/176/EEC and 82/883/EEC aim to prevent and
progressively reduce pollution caused by waste from processing of titanium
dioxide. Authorisation for dumping TiO2 wastes in the sea may be granted only if
an assessment shows that the waste cannot be disposed of by more appropriate
means and no damaging effects will occur. New installations must apply the
available processes and techniques which are least damaging to the environment.
Member States must submit plans to the Commission showing how they will achieve
the directive's aims.
- Review whether any facilities in the country come within the scope of the
directive. However, even if no titanium dioxide processing installations exist
the directive will still have to be transposed into national law.
- Implementation should be within the framework of a national waste
management system. Administrative and technical bodies will be needed to manage
the strict permitting procedures and the technical controls.
- The nature of the potential pollution caused by the TiO2 requires careful
co-operation between the authorities in charge of waste, water, and soil
- Countries may have to develop national programmes for the minimisation
and if possible the elimination of pollution caused by the TiO2 industry
and for the total ban of waste discharge at sea or in inland water.
Disposal of PCBs and PCTs
Council Directive 96/59/EC aims at the elimination of polychlorinated
biphenyls and polychlorinated terphenyls (PCBs) and at the decontamination of
equipment containing them. This equipment must be inventoried, labelled and
reported to the Commission by September 1999 and inventories must be updated.
Equipment containing PCBs not yet decontaminated must be kept in good working
order to avoid leaks.
Undertakings disposing of PCBs must be licensed in accordance with Directive
75/442/EEC. Incineration as a means of disposal must meet the standards set in
Directive 94/67/EEC. Member States have to draw up disposal plans for
inventoried PCBs by September 1999 and communicate them to the Commission.
- Strict regulations and enforcing instruments would have to be created or
strengthened in order to ensure the most complete identification and
classification of the presence of PCB/PCT and equipment containing them within
the national territory.
- Authorities would have to draft plans for the safe decommissioning,
disposal, or rehabilitation of identified contaminated equipment and
installation within the timeframe set in the directive. Plans should possibly
extend their scope to cover unregistered equipment possibly via the use of
administrative and economic incentives established along with rigorous controls.
- The authorities would have to ensure that no technical or administrative
bottlenecks would arise in the enforcement of the requirements of the directive.
This would minimise the risks linked to improper or illegal disposal especially
where SMEs are concerned.
Sewage sludge used in agriculture
Council Directive 86/278/EEC aims to control the use of sewage sludge in
agriculture by establishing maximum limit values for concentrations of heavy
metals in the soil and in the sludge, and maximum quantities of heavy metals
(cadmium, copper, nickel, lead, zinc and mercury) which may be added to the
It defines conditions for the use of such sludge: Member states must ensure
that the limit values are not exceeded. Minimum time limits are set separating
the use of sludge on certain types of agricultural lands and their use. Sludge
and the soil on which it is used must be analysed according to the procedures
set out in the annexes.
- The authorities responsible for water treatment, waste management,
agriculture and enforcement will need to work together to achieve the aims of
the directive; they should agree on the timetable and targets at the early
stages of planning.
- A system of authorisation and record keeping for both the consignment and
the use of sludge must be put in place and the information used for the
development of national and consolidated European report on the issue.
- The need for introducing more stringent restrictions that the ones of the
directive would have to be assessed on the basis of specific national or local
sensitivity to soil and water contamination.
Batteries and accumulators containing dangerous substances
Council Directive 91/157/EEC was adopted as a specific measure within the
framework of Council Directive 75/442/EEC on Waste to mandate the recovery and
controlled disposal of spent batteries and accumulators containing certain
amounts of mercury, cadmium or lead.
Member States must draw up programmes to reduce their heavy metal content,
to promote the marketing of improved batteries and accumulators, to gradually
reduce the phased out products to promote research and favour the use of
less-polluting substitute substance in them,
They must ensure the efficient organisation of a separate collection and,
where appropriate, the setting up of a deposit system. Economic instruments are
allowed to encourage recycling; they must be introduced after consultation.
Consumers must be fully informed about aspects of the risks and disposal
- The authorities should establish a phased plan to ensure that the
production and marketing restrictions for batteries and accumulators are rapidly
complied with without creating major economic problems. However, such transition
periods need to be used to put separate collection and disposal systems in place
and raise public awareness on the issue.
- Long term programmes to increase public awareness and technical development
would have to be developed within or in co-ordination with the waste reduction
and management plans.
- The need for the introduction of economic instrument to maximise separate
collection should be assessed; public education programmes would be helpful to
ensure public co-operation in recovering and recycling waste batteries.
- A widespread network of collection point would have to be created and
administrative permitting and control procedures put in place to allow safe
transport and recovery of spent batteries where the right technologies are
Packaging and packaging waste
Directive 94/62/EC implements the Union's strategy on packaging waste. It
aims to harmonise national packaging waste management measures, to minimise
environmental impacts of packaging waste and to avoid the erection of barriers
to trade within the European Union. It covers packaging and packaging waste,
industrial commercial or domestic, regardless of the materials used.
Recovery and recycling targets are established to be met within five years
of the enactment of implementing legislation in the Member States. Such
legislation must be enacted by mid-1996. By 2001, 50-65% of packaging waste must
be recovered, and 25-45% of all packaging waste must be recycled with at least
15% of each packaging material being recycled.
Re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery (including incineration with
energy recovery) are accepted as equally valid methods of recovery. Recycling
includes reprocessing and organic recycling (composting), but does not include
Member States must meet the recovery and recycling targets by 30 June 2001.
- The governments would have to assess the potential for packaging
recovering and recycling at national level and set attainable targets within the
ranges allowed by the directive.
- National authorities would have to ensure the creation of a system for
managing packaging waste that will ensure the attainment of these targets.
Existing experiences are based on the creation of partially voluntary systems
where the economic actors commit themselves to reaching the targets within the
set deadlines before regulatory requirements are set by the authorities.
Economic incentives could be established to help the development and management
of the system in its initial phase.
- Existing systems would have to be assessed to ensure compliance with EU
requirements and avoid distortion of the free market.
- Regulatory restrictions and effective controls would have to be developed
to ensure compliance with the EU essential requirements and the national
standards the packaging materials have to comply with.
- A system must be developed for monitoring recycling rates and for
controlling the production of packaging waste. Harmonised databases would have
to be developed in order to allow comparative analysis across Europe.
- Promotion of public awareness concerning generation, management, and
disposal of packaging waste is required as a main element for its minimisation.