What does the European Union tells us about waste management?

  •   May 26th, 2014
  •   Category: Regulations
  •   Posted by: Ecodyger

Where do the obligations on waste management come from?

Each member country of the European Union writes its own laws not in full autonomy, but rather having the obligation to follow and implement within a certain time all the guidelines laid down by the Community itself, through a legislative instrument called European Directive.

The European Waste Hierarchy

The European Directive on Waste Management is the 2008/98/EC and is considered very innovative and revolutionary because for the first time introduces the obligation for Member States to draw up waste prevention programs concentrating on the key environmental impacts and based on consideration of the entire life cycle of products and materials. The whole process must comply with the Waste Hierarchy, represented by an inverted pyramid. It expresses the general approach to be taken in handling to minimize the amount of waste produced and maximize the recovery of materials and energy in order to achieve the best overall environmental outcome. Precisely for this reason it is applied in order of priority from top to bottom.


Target Zero Waste

There are five basic components of the Waste Hierarchy arranged in order of priority:

  1. Prevention: Measures to limit the amount of waste produced
  2. Preparation for reuse
  3. Recycling: measures that allow the refusal to play a useful role
  4. Other types of recovery: measures that allow the refusal to play a useful role. For example, the energy recovery.
  5. Disposal: the goal is to get to this stage as little waste as possible, ideally close to zero. This concept is called Zero Waste.

From Europe to member states

In this new scenario, each EU member country has had to legislate new regulations on Waste Management within the time limit provided for in the EU Directive 2008/98/EC on December 12, 2013. In Italy with Decree of October 7, 2013, the Italian Ministry of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea adopted the National Program for Prevention of Waste.

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