European Environment Agency

Case Studies on Waste Minimisation Practices in Europe

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Courtesy of European Environment Agency

Ten successful case studies are presented in this report, which seeks to support and encourage waste minimisation in EEA countries. Focussing on waste prevention and recycling, the case studies cover five themes: producer responsibility, voluntary agreements, legislative requirements, information programmes and waste taxes.

Executive Summary

The objective of this report is to support and inspire the work with waste minimisation in EEA member countries by introducing a catalogue of successful examples of waste prevention, recycling and cleaner technology. Thus, the report is supporting EU waste policy manifested in the EU waste strategy and the sixth environmental action programme.

The emphasis of the report is placed on case studies on waste prevention and recycling. A total of 40 waste minimisation cases were examined and 10 of these cases were selected for presentation in this report. Only those
cases are selected for final presentation for which adequate information (including a description of the initiative, material flow and behaviour changes that occurred, and relevant economical data) has been provided, thus allowing an overall evaluation of their practical performance.

In order to understand the need for waste minimisation initiatives a detailed picture of the current waste situation has to be presented. Hence, Chapter 2 of the report addresses a number of issues describing the present waste situation in Europe. By emphasising the issues and showing the need for solutions, the case studies discussed in Chapter 3 can be understood and evaluated in their right context.

It must be pointed out that even though this report is highlighting some of the most successful waste minimisation initiatives applied in Europe, by no means it is an ‘inventorial handbook’ or a catalogue of all case studies.
The selected case studies cover a range of five themes namely producer responsibility, voluntary agreements, legislative
requirements, information programmes and waste taxes. Some major conclusions can be drawn from the case studies presented:

  • there are several initiatives in many EEA countries encouraging waste recycling and prevention but most of them are only being applied at the local level;
  • promising results can be obtained from most of the case studies which can serve as inspiration for future initiatives on waste prevention;
  • continuous cooperation and exchange of technological and organisational experiences is needed to reach progress in waste management.

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