About the EU Waste Framework Directive

The European Union (EU) Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (2008/98/EC) was originally implemented to prevent or reduce the adverse impacts of waste generation and management on the environment and human health.

The EU WFD was updated in 2018 because waste operators found the disposal instructions provided by manufacturers and importers operating in the European Economic Area (EEA) to be inadequate. As a result, hazardous substances were improperly managed, putting workers and the environment at risk. This indicated a need for significant changes to legislation.

In 2018, the EU introduced amendments to several pieces of legislation that regulate how products sold in the EEA are reused, repurposed, recycled or disposed of. These included the updated EU WFD (2018/851), which applies to all products sold in the EU regardless of manufacturing origin. This created a level playing field for all companies selling products in the EEA.

The updated EU WFD 2018/851 establishes concepts and definitions related to waste management, including recycling and recovery. It outlines when waste should be considered a secondary raw material, allowing stakeholders to distinguish between waste and by-products. Additionally, it lays out waste management principles, requiring that waste be managed without endangering human health or the environment, with an emphasis on waste prevention and the long-term replacement or removal of wasteful or harmful substances in products.

Article current as of January 2020.

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