EU waste management policies are aimed at reducing the environmental and health impacts of waste and improving Europe’s resource efficiency.
Effective waste management is a vital component in ensuring resource efficiency and sustainable growth of European economies. The aim is to achieve much greater rates of recycling and to minimise the extraction of additional natural resources. The long-term goal is to transform Europe into a circular economy, one which minimises waste and wherever possible treats unavoidable waste as a resource.
To achieve this, the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD) of 2008 introduced a five-step hierarchy for managing waste.
- Preparing for re-use
- Other recovery, e.g. energy recovery
In line with this hierarchy, the 7th Environment Action Programme has set the following priorities for EU waste policy:
- Reducing the amount of waste generated
- Maximising recycling and re-use
- Limiting incineration to non-recyclable materials
- Phasing out landfilling for non-recyclable and non-recoverable waste
- Ensuring full implementation of the waste policy targets in all EU Member States