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Waste Legislation

Principles for waste management according to EU-law.

This page covers waste legislation.
For practical examples, please see: Waste Management

The Waste Framework Directive (WFD) lays down some basic waste management principles: it requires that waste is managed without endangering human health and harming the environment, and in particular without risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, without causing a nuisance through noise or odours, and without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.

Reducing the amount of waste and reducing the hazardous content of the waste is regarded as the highest priority according to the Waste Hierarchy.

The waste hierachy pyramid model: A bottom-up pyramid is vertical divided into five sections. The upper and widest section of the pyramid is: Prevention. The second section of the pyramid is: Preparing for re-use. The third section of the pyramid is: Recycling.The fourth section of the pyramid is: Recovery. The last and smallest section at the bottom of the pyramid is: Disposal.
The WFD defines a hierarchy in waste management. Waste prevention is the first priority of waste management. Re-use and recycling should then be preferred to energy recovery and re-use are the most preferred options, followed by recycling and energy recovery.

The polluter pays principle is an overarching principle of environmental responsibility. In short, the principle implies that those who pollute, in this case: the original waste producer or the current/previous waste holders, should bear the costs of waste management.

School leaders should consult resources that outline their local and national regulations, as these are often more stringent than this EU directive.


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To cite this page, we suggest the following format (APA 7):
Online Resources for Chemical Safety in Science Education. (2022, November 3).
Waste Legislation.