European hazardous waste management improving, but its prevention needs attention

The European Environment Agency (EEA) recently published a report entitled Prevention of hazardous waste in Europe the status in 2015. The report is the third in a series of annual reviews of waste prevention programmes in Europe as stipulated by the Waste Framework Directive.

The latest review focuses on prevention which is a key priority in the european environmental policies. At a reported 100 million tonnes, hazardous waste accounted for close to 4% of the 2.5 billion tonnes of waste generated across the European Union in 2012. The predominant types of hazardous waste were mineral and solidified wastes, chemical and medical wastes, with the waste management, construction, mining and quarrying, and household sectors as the top sources.

Total hazardous waste generation has increased slightly since 2008, according to the report. More than half of the reviewed waste prevention programmes include measures to reduce the generation of hazardous waste. Most of the measures are linked to curbing production and including bans on toxic materials. However, prevention of hazardous waste appears to have lower priority than management aspects, and limited financial support. Prioritisation at the EU level is one of the drivers for better prevention at national or regional levels, the report says.

The report also raises data quality issues, and highlights that changes in waste classification and definition of hazardous waste cause reporting and interpretation problems and may affect the accuracy and comparability of national data. This is also likely to affect national target setting and indicator development.


EEA website - European hazardous waste management improving, but its prevention needs attention