EEA study: How advanced is waste prevention in European countries` policy?

Cover of report (Source: EEA)

Copenhagen, Denmark — Waste prevention lies at the centre of the European Union’s policies on waste and Member States have a legal obligation to adopt and implement waste prevention programmes. The EEA surveys annually the progress towards the ‘completion and implementation of the programmes’. A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) reviews 27 national and regional waste prevention programmes adopted by the end of 2014.

Although the overall amounts of waste generated in Europe declined between 2004 and 2012 by more than 1 percent in absolute terms and more than 3 percent per person, 2.5 billion tonnes of waste – close to 5 tonnes per person – were discarded in the European Union in 2012. Reducing this waste can result in a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits, such as reducing pollution in water and soil, greenhouse gas emissions and loss of valuable materials.

The EEA report ‘Waste prevention in Europe – the status in 2014’ is the second in this series of annual reviews of waste prevention programmes in Europe. The review process covers 36 programmes in the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The EEA report shows that waste prevention programmes show great variety in details, coverage, objectives, time horizons, targets, indicators, monitoring systems, measures and policy instruments. The report also includes examples of good practice from each country and region.

The general key findings of the report are:

  • Twenty-seven national and regional waste prevention programmes in 24 countries (out of 31) were adopted by the end of 2014;
  • Waste prevention programmes show considerable differences in detail, coverage, objectives and time horizons (four years to indefinite);
  • Seventeen programmes are dedicated programmes, whereas ten are part of wider waste management plans;
  • Twelve programmes include evaluation at least every sixth year as required by the Waste Framework Directive; some include the production of regular progress reports;
  • Stakeholders have been involved in the development of 13 programmes, whereas 23 programmes indicate their involvement in the implementation phase;
  • Financial resources are rarely addressed in the programmes.

The report too examined Waste prevention scope, Waste prevention objectives, Quantitative waste prevention targets, Waste prevention indicators, Monitoring systems, Waste prevention measures and Policy instruments.

The full report can be downloaded under

Source: European Environment Agency