In the ‘Study to assess member states (MS) practices on by-products (BP) and end-of waste (EoW)’, the IMPEL work on Guidance on Circular Economy is mentioned (on pag 9 and 10).
Aiming at redirecting waste and by-products (BP) from production processes back to industrial uses, the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC, WFD) has introduced for the first time the concept of end-of-waste (EoW) and has established rules to distinguish between wastes and BP.
Provided that certain specific conditions are met, facilitating and harmonising the recognition of BP and EoW status of substances and objects makes an important contribution to the concept of circular economies across Europe.
For instance, it allows waste or BP of one industry to become inputs for another, thus promoting resource efficiency and industrial symbiosis. This is reflected in the Circular Economy Action Plan adopted by the European Commission in December 2015.
End-of-waste (EoW) criteria specify when certain waste ceases to be waste and obtains a status of a product respectively a secondary raw material. According to Article 6 of the WFD, certain specified waste may cease to be waste when it has undergone a recovery operation, including recycling, and complies with specific criteria to be developed in line with the following conditions:
- the substance or object is commonly used for specific purposes;
- a market or demand exists for such a substance or object;
- the substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the specific purposes and meets the existing legislation and standards applicable to products; and;
- the use of the substance or object will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.
Aiming at a harmonised implementation of the EoW concept across the EU, a methodology for developing specific criteria for individual waste streams has been designed by the Joint Research Centre2 in 2010. In addition, a series of fact-finding studies for waste streams selected as suitable candidates for setting up EoW criteria were conducted. In the framework of all these studies relevant standards and legislation, typical waste generation processes, quality standards, quantities, uses/applications and recovery processes of materials as well as markets for the secondary materials were investigated. Subsequently, the EU adopted Union-wide EoW criteria for certain waste streams: iron, steel, aluminium and copper scrap and glass cullet.
Where no Union-wide EoW criteria have been adopted, Member States (MS) may decide at national level whether certain waste has ceased to be waste, either by binding national criteria, which have to be notified to the European Commission – and will then be published under the EU’s Technical Regulation Information System (TRIS) – or by single case decisions. Ad-hoc decisions do not need to be notified to the European Commission.
Examples of legally binding national legislation are the criteria for waste wood, compost, secondary aggregates and refuse-derived fuels specified in the several bylaws made under the Austrian Waste Management Law or criteria for compost produced from biodegradable waste, digestate resulting from biofuel production, sewage sludge resulting from sewage treatment established in Estonia.
Currently, approaches to recognise end-of waste status differ within MS. This is in particular the case in single-case decision-making. In some MS a designated institution such as the Environment Ministry or the Environment Agency is responsible for deciding whether EoW status is applicable or not. In other countries, as in Italy or Sweden, local or regional authorities take such decisions, or alternatively, the responsibility is with the industry to self-declare EoW, with random ex-post inspections carried out by the enforcement authorities.
The report continues here.