European Union Waste Strategy


The European Union (EU) revised the Waste Framework Directive in 2008 which sets the main waste objectives for EU Member States, including the UK. The Directive gave the waste hierarchy a legal standing with waste prevention as a priority action, whilst also setting a household waste recycling target of 50% by 2020 amongst other measures. Other EU Directives on landfill, packaging and electrical waste have tackled specific waste streams and have supported increased recycling, reuse and energy recovery from waste.

The EU have developed a Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe which recognises the important role that waste prevention has to play in improving resource efficiency. In 2014 a focus of EU activity will be a review of waste policy and legislation. The review will seek to improve the effectiveness of waste legislation in reducing waste, increasing recycling and supporting resource efficiency. EU waste legislation provides the framework for waste and resource management in the UK and the outcome of the review may have an important bearing on UK waste policy beyond 2015.


(Last updated – March 2014)