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Opportunities to improve the EU framework for waste management Otto Linher, European Commission DG Environment Otto.Linher@cec.eu.int http:/europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste. Why is waste a problem? Continued growth of the waste mountain

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Opportunities to improve the EU framework for waste management Otto Linher,

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Opportunities to improve the EU framework for waste management

Otto Linher,

European Commission DG Environment



Why is waste a problem?

Continued growth of the waste mountain

around 1500 Mt of waste (excluding agricultural waste)

3.5 tonnes per capita and year

1995-98 growth by 15% while GDP grew by 10%

around 240 Mt of municipal waste

540 kg per capita and year

Environmental impacts of waste

Air pollutants and greenhouse gases


Long term heritage of landfills and contaminated sites

Disamenity (noise, odour etc.)

Resource loss and avoidable impacts of virgin materials production

Why do we need Community policy on waste? Isn’t waste a local issue?

National and local authorities remain the key actors to implement good waste management

However, good waste management is difficult if other regions offer lower quality waste management at cheaper prices

If we want to improve waste management effectively, the same standards need to apply everywhere

Community waste legislation today:

Basic rules

Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC

Hazardous Waste Directive 91/689/EEC

Waste lists (Decision 2000/532/EC)

Waste Shipment Regulation 259/93

Waste disposal installations

Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC

Waste Incineration Directive 2000/76/EC

Waste stream specific legislation

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC

End of Life Vehicles Directive 2000/53/EC

WEEE 2002/96/EC and RoHS 2002/95/EC

Waste Oils Directive 75/439/EEC

Batteries Directive 91/157/EEC

Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278/EEC

PCB/PCT Directive 96/59/EC

What have we achieved and what do we need to improve? - 6th Environment Action Programme (1)

We have managed to significantly reduce environmental impacts of waste management

No overview available but:

Waste Incineration Directive will reduce dioxin emissions from waste incineration by more than 99% (if fully implemented)

Landfill Directive will reduce methane emissions and leachates to soil to a small fraction of earlier levels (if fully implemented)

Recycling Directives achieve significant resource savings and reduction of environmental impacts related to production of virgin material and waste disposal

What have we achieved and what do we need to improve? - 6th Environment Action Programme (2)

However, we have not managed to reduced waste generation...

link to production and consumption patterns

what goes into the economy sooner or later comes out as waste

…hence the need for more focus on resource management

Thematic Strategy on Resources

why is resource use a problem?

the use of which resources is a problem?

what priorities to set and with which measures to achieve objectives/targets to be set?

Integrated Product Policy

how can we improve production and consumption patterns?

what products/product groups to prioritise?

Thematic Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling

  • Recycling

    • Improve the legal framework for recycling (definitions, recycling standards etc.)

    • How to follow up producer responsibility

  • Waste prevention

    • What works and what does not work?

    • Prevention targets?

    • Link to Integrated Product Policy

Thematic Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling

  • Modernise

  • Simplify (end of waste, definition of recovery)

  • Reinforce where needed: waste prevention actions and recycling standards

  • Explanation provided in: (short) Communication + (long) Impact Assessment, + a ‘story book’

  • Immediate action:

    • Revise waste framework Directive

    • Integrate hazardous waste Directive

    • Repeal waste oils Directive

How does this link to producer responsibility (1)?

Recycling targets and producer responsibility obligations have proved to be an important factor to create stable financing for recycling

Still, much needs to be done to implement recycling programs and to achieve the targets set


A Decade for Change

Non-haz waste landfills

Inc/co-inc emission limits

Final ELV targets

IPPC permits

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2015 2016

Hazardous waste landfills

Pckg targets

PCBs destroyed

Final landfill diversion

WEEE + ELV targets

Landfill diversion


- Tyres Ban

- Acceptance criteria

2005: Thematic Strategy

How does this link to producer responsibility (2)?


Therefore, for the moment the focus is on implementation rather than setting or revising legislation

In the long run, material specific approaches and targets at Community level may be options for simplification and more market orientation

The Planned Commission Report on the Implementation of the Packaging Directive:

Evaluation of impact on environment and Internal Market

Prevention: essential requirements, packaging environment indicator, prevention plans


Producer responsibility

Heavy metals and other hazardous substances

The preparatory work for the Commission Report:

ECOLAS/PIRA study on the implementation of the Packaging Directive and options to strengthen prevention and reuse

http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/studies/packaging/050224_final_report.pdf (main report)

http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/studies/packaging/050224_final_%20report_annexes.pdf (annexes)

http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/studies/packaging/implementation_background.htm (information on the stakeholder consultation, including the comments received on the draft final report).

Perchards/FFact study on the progress of the implementation and impact of the Packaging Directive on the functioning of the Internal Market


EEA pilot study on the effectiveness of packaging waste management systems in selected countries

Covers Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, available on:


The impact of the Directive on packaging recovery and recycling

Packaging recovery and incineration at waste incineration plants with energy recovery increased from 31.0 Mt in 1997 (53%) to 41.4 Mt in 2002 (62%)

Packaging recycling increased from 27.2 Mt in 1997 (46%) to 36.1 Mt in 2002 (55%)

All of the 75 applicable recovery and recycling targets for the various Member States were met in 2002

The 2003 recovery and recycling rates

The effects of packaging recovery and recycling on the environment

Positive effects on most environmental parameters, including:

Savings of around 10 million tons of oil equivalent

around 1 million as a direct result of the packaging directive

Savings of around 25 million tons of CO2 equivalent

around 0.6% of total EU15 greenhouse gas emissions in 2002

around 3 million as a direct result of the packaging directive

The costs of packaging recovery and recycling

  • Total cost of packaging waste management

    • No recovery: 6.17 bn €

    • Baseline scenario: 6.6 bn €

    • Packaging Directive 6.8 bn €

      • of which: financing need for recycling 3.7 bn €

        • gross cost 5.3 bn €

        • revenue from sale of secondary material 1.6 bn €

      • Cost for incineration with energy recovery 0.55 bn €

      • Cost for disposal of remaining packaging waste 2.3 bn €

      • Additional cost as a result of the Packaging Directive: 227 m €

The costs of packaging recovery and recycling

The costs of packaging recovery and recycling

  • Current packaging recycling is not substantially more expensive than costs of alternative disposal

  • However:

    • Costs vary significantly between materials and applications

      • for some materials and applications recycling is clearly cheaper than disposal

      • for some materials and applications recycling is disproportionately expensive

      • in the middle ground recycling costs are comparable to disposal costs

  • Packaging recycling policy has stabilized recycling where it was previously almost profitable and/or characterized by fluctuating commodity prices for secondary material

Is packaging recycling a cost-efficient instrument for environmental protection?

  • Cost of reducing 1 ton of CO2-equivalent through packaging recycling is estimated as rising from 12 €/t in 1997 to 23 €/t in 2001

    • This compares to a current market value of around 22.7 €/t

    • However, these figures are very sensitive to variations in recycling and disposal costs

    • They vary significantly depending on materials and applications

    • The cost does not only relate to reductions of greenhouse gas emissions but also to reductions in other environmental impact categories

  • Costs for packaging recycling are in the same order of magnitude as the cheapest alternatives to achieve the same environmental benefit

The impact of national policies on packaging prevention

  • Member States have used various concepts to encourage packaging prevention

    • enforcement of essential requirements

    • packaging prevention plans

    • strong producer responsibility obligations

    • prevention targets

    • awareness-raising programmes etc.

The impact of national policies on packaging prevention

  • In most Member States, there seems to be some relative de-coupling of packaging waste growth from GDP

    • these prevention policies may have contributed to this de-coupling but it remains uncertain how much is due to market forces and how much a result of policy

    • however, none of the applied policy instruments has achieved a dramatic change in packaging put on the market

    • none of the instruments seems to be clearly better than the other instruments

The impact of the Directive on packaging prevention

  • Generation of packaging waste has increased from 59.8 Mt in 1997 to 66.3 Mt in 2002 (+10.9%)

The impact of prevention plans on packaging prevention



EU 15



The impact of the enforcement of essential requirements on packaging prevention

United Kingdom


EU 15

The impact of strong producer responsibility on packaging prevention



EU 15

The potential use of a packaging environment indicator

  • Conceptual tool to measure the environmental impact of packaging

  • Advantages

    • Gives guidance on key indicators to analyze the life-cycle impact of packaging

    • Provides simple tools to companies with no previous use of life-cycle instruments

    • Encourages life-cycle thinking

  • Disadvantages

    • Ignores close relationship between packed good and packaging

    • Sales packaging is part of a packaging system (including transport and grouped packaging)

    • Unable to provide unequivocal numbers

      • Dependence on underlying assumptions for which there is no universally valid answer (e.g. sources of electricity generation)

      • Dependence on distribution scenarios which cannot be known before packaging is put on the market

The further planning:

Adoption of the 2005 Commission report to Council and Parliament

Wait for the reactions from stakeholders, Council and Parliament

Any further decisions will be taken at a later stage

Thank you for your attention!

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