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Waste and recycling

Past projects

List of past projects in the field of waste and recycling:

Management of waste from electric and electronic equipment

At the request of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament Directorate B - Growth and Innovation has performed a critical review of the environmental policy options for the management of waste from electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) as a contribution to the review and implementation of the Directives for the management of waste and the treatment of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

WEEE represents a "difficult" waste category for which, despite systematic efforts, no conclusive regulation could be established until recently at EU level. The main stumbling blocks were the attribution of responsibilities to polluters and the adoption of funding schemes. Stimulating competition among market forces towards more efficient take-back schemes through the guidance of "best practice" based waste management approaches is suggested to be the key issue for achieving high environmental protection standards and techno-economic benefits.

More information: Towards a European Solution for the Management of Waste from Electric and Electroni Equipment

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Techno economic outlook on waste indicators in enlargement countries (TEO WASTE)

The objective of this project was to provide input to Dir.B’ prospective analysis of environmental headline indicators in enlargement countries by elaborating techno-economic outlooks and environmental assessments of:

  • Municipal waste collected, land filled, and incinerated; and
  • Generation and management of waste from main industrial source sectors.

More information: Techno-Economic Outlook on Waste Indicators in Enlargement Countries

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Scenarios of households waste generation in 2020

Waste volumes have persistently grown faster than GDP. This trend has been highlighted in the Commission proposal for an EU sustainable development strategy as a main threat to sustainable development. Accordingly, the Commission proposal for a 6th Environment Action Programme sets the objective to achieve a de-coupling of resource use from economic growth through significantly improved resource efficiency, dematerialisation of the economy and waste prevention.

JRC has analysed the key tecnological developments, changes in production and consumption patterns as well as other socio-economic trends (explanatory factors) that can be expected to influence the future volume and quality of the principal municipal waste fractions. Based on this it has developed scenarios with a time horizon up to 2030 to explore how disruptive developments may allow breaking the trend of increasing municipal waste generation. The qualitative scenario story lines are translated into alternative quantitative projections of waste arising. They show that future levels of waste generation may vary greatly as a function of how we live, spend money and use technologies in the future. The policy implications have also been analysed.

More information: Scenarios of household waste generation in 2020

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The impact of regulation on innovation of European industry

This joint project, the impact of Regulation on Innovation of European Industry of JRC and DG Enterprise has analyzed the impact of environmental policy on the innovation potentials of the European Industries. This has been done through a series of in depth analysis of major industrial sectors influenced by environmental related regulation and norms. Four reports have been published covering areas such as the European chemical notification system, the recycling industries, the Eco- Management and Audit Scheme, (EMAS regulation) and End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) sector. These studies provide specific recommendations for the design of innovation-oriented regulations in each sector.

These reports were a major vehicle of information and assessment of the impact of alternative regulatory approaches, feeding directly into the discussion leading to the adoption of the End-of-Life Directive (2000/53/EC), the revision of the EMAS regulation and the discussion for the preparation of the White Paper on the EU chemical policy.

Closing this joint project, and based on the empirical analysis of the case studies, Directore B - Growth and Innovation has published a report presenting a conceptual framework and empirical guidelines for future appraisals of the impact of environmental regulation on innovation of European industries

More information:

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Pay you throw urban waste management (PAYT)

The on-going project PAYT (Variable rate pricing based on Pay-as-you-throw - as a tool of urban waste management) addresses the serious environmental concerns of waste caused pollution and intensive materials use, by series of work packages designed to increase our knowledge about the effectiveness of Variable Rate Pricing (VRP) as a policy option for reducing household discards. The focus of this proposal is on large metropolitan areas.

More information: http://www.payt.net/

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The sustainable use of natural resources

The study contributes to the European Commission's work in preparing a "Thematic Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources". It does so by reviewing the existing body of research to identify those materials and resources whose use has the greatest environmental impact. The study also elaborates proposals for developing further the scientific input to the Resources Strategy.

More information: Environmental Impact of the use of Natural Resources

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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.