Waste management strategy of the European Union

The key principles of integrated waste management have also been recognised by the European Commission. In 1989 it produced its Strategy for Waste Management throughout the Community, which embodies the policy objectives of the Fourth Action Programme on the Environment in a series of strategic guidelines. These objectives set out a clear hierarchy of preferences in which waste recycling and reuse take precedence over all forms of disposal. The five strategic principles on which the Commission's policy is based are:

  1. waste prevention
  2. waste recycling and reuse a . .

O 3. optimisation for final disposal of waste

  1. rational organisation and regulation of all operations related to waste management
  2. remedial action (rehabilitation of contaminated sites, including old landfills).

jj An objective for the EU has been to harmonise waste management standards throughout Europe,

^ partly to prevent the flow of waste to the cheapest point of disposal. There is an obligation on all

Member States in the Framework Directive on Waste (91/156/EEC) to promote self-sufficiency at a o u

  • least on a national level.
  • he Commission concluded, in its Strategy for Waste Management, that waste recycling and reuse o should be vigorously promoted through, inter alia, the optimisation of collection and sorting g systems. On the optimisation of final disposal, the Commission expressed the view that the
  • harmonisation of standards of waste regulation and operation is urgently needed, o
  • The commitment to these principles is seen in the Framework Directive on Waste (91/156/EEC).

o It retains the important principles established in the original directive (75/442/EEC) but also contains a wider definition of waste and much greater emphasis on waste reduction by the use of

  • clean technologies, waste minimisation during product manufacture, recycling, reuse or
  • U reclamation and the use of waste as an energy source (Articles 1 and 3). A further requirement, m under Article 12, is that carriers of waste and dealers and brokers arranging for waste disposal or
  • recovery for third parties must be registered, enabling greater control over all stages of waste j> management (objective 4 above).

¡d Two other EC directives still at the draft stage provide further impetus to the EU's waste management strategy: the Packaging Directive and the Landfill Directive.

5 As part of the EU's "Priority Waste Streams" programme, a project is in progress on building and

£ demolition wastes which aims to develop a strategy for the management of these wastes by 1995.

q The project involves a wide range of relevant parties including producers, consumers, wastage

" handlers and officials from Member States.

1.10.2 EU project on demolition and building wastes

EU States have completed detailed questionnaires on reuse and recycling in their countries. A detailed information document is being prepared, containing data on legislation and definitions throughout the EU and statistical information on arisings, recovery and recycling. This document will form the basis for identification of options and a strategy for increasing the level of reuse and recycling.

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