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Best Environmental Management Practice

The reference document for the Waste Management sector

Waste Management

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is developing a sectoral reference document (SRD) on best environmental management practice for the waste management sector. Waste management is a key sector in terms of resource efficiency where best practice, going well beyond regulatory requirements, can be of great benefit.

This activity is part of the JRC work on identification of best environmental management practice and development of EMAS Sectoral Reference Documents for different sectors.

Two main target groups have been identified for this SRD: waste management companies and public authorities in charge of waste management (waste authorities).

The research focuses on the main direct and indirect environmental aspects for waste management companies and waste authorities and on initiatives/measures/techniques/actions implemented by frontrunner (best performing) organisations within the sector. On the basis of this research, the document will extensively present best environmental management practices (BEMPs), environmental performance indicators and benchmarks of excellence in the fields of:

  • Establishing an integrated waste management strategy.
  • Waste prevention.
  • Waste collection.
  • Waste re-use.
  • Waste treatment facilities.
  • Implementation of producer responsibility scheme.

For areas covered by the Best Available Technique (BAT) Reference Document (BREF) on Waste Treatment Industry, the SRD will not describe BEMPs but refer to the relevant guidance in terms of best available techniques in the BREF.

Work plan

The JRC hired an external contractor, BZL (Germany), in cooperation with E3 (UK), to produce a background report to be used as a basis for the development of the sectoral reference document. In the meantime, the JRC established a Technical Working Group (TWG) comprising experts in environment and waste management to gather and review information and to validate the best environmental management practices, environmental performance indicators and benchmarks of excellence. The kick-off meeting of the TWG took place on 30 September - 1 October 2015 in Leuven (Belgium).

Based on the inputs and comments provided by the TWG at the kick-off meeting and during further cooperation, BZL/E3 further developed the background report which was completed in May 2016. On those basis and thanks to inputs from the TWG, the JRC has developed the background report into a draft best practice report to be reviewed by the TWG and finalised over the course of 2017.

In the meanwhile, a second meeting of the TWG was held on 28-29 March 2017 in Seville (Spain). The meeting focused on discussing and agreeing indicators that local waste authorities and waste management companies can use to assess and monitor the environmental performance of waste management systems.

On the basis of the outcome of the meeting and the subsequent interaction with the members of the TWG, the JRC is finalising the best practice report, including the complete description of all the agreed BEMPs and all the indicators agreed at the second meeting. In the meanwhile, data collection is on-going to support the setting of benchmarks of excellence, which will also be included in the final best practice report. Any waste management company or local authority in charge of waste management interested to contribute to the data collection, can contact the project team at the e-mail address indicated below.


Project Team and Contacts

The following people are part of the JRC EMAS SRD team:

  • Paolo Canfora
  • Marco Dri
  • Ioannis Antonopoulos
  • Pierre Gaudillat

If you have any question on the work carried out in this area or if you would like to contribute to the identification of best environmental management practices, please feel free to contact us. The best way to do so is sending an e-mail to









As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.