Waste prevention 18 EU member states in line with the directive
At the end of 2013, 18 EU member states had adopted waste prevention programmes as required by the EU waste framework directive. This is mentioned by the European Environment Agency in a recent report on waste prevention in Europe, concerning 28 Union member states in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Waste prevention is one of the highest priorities for European Union policies on waste management, given the potential economic and environmental benefits. The European Environment Agency regularly assesses current prevention programmes implemented in accordance with European directives. The programmes implemented by the various countries show consistent differences in terms of their details, reach, goals and timelines. Most programmes include the goal of “separating” waste generation from economic growth, but there is often a lack of quantifiable objectives and adequate monitoring systems. 60% of prevention programmes focus on providing information and raising awareness, while only 17% quote regulatory or economic policy instruments. Waste prevention is at the top of the hierarchy established by the European Union in relation to waste management goals. If prevention is not possible, waste must be reused, prepared for reuse, recycled or thermally treated. The final resort is landfilling. According to the EU roadmap for a resource efficient Europe, by 2020 waste generation must be minimised. The results of the study conducted by the European Environment Agency show there is still ample room for improvement in the initiatives adopted by member states. In particular, further effort is required with regard to setting goals, monitoring and funding prevention measures. The report is available on the site eea.europa.eu.