Legislation, standardisation & incentives

IMPACTPaperRec / Best practice handbook / Legislation, standardisation & incentives

1. Relevant European legislation and obligations for member states

IMPACTPapeRec is completely aligned with European policy objectives regarding the prioritization of recycling and recovery instead of landfilling as defined by current European and national legislation on waste such as the Waste Framework Directive and the proposal of the European Commission for a Circular Economy stressing the importance of separate collection.

IMPACTPapeRec is also related to emerging European initiatives whose objectives include the reuse of byproducts and waste fractions in alternative production processes to avoid landfilling such as the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials “IMPACT – Introduction and Improvement of Separate Paper Collection to avoid landfilling and incineration”.

EU policy on waste management is set out in the Community Strategy for Waste Management and is embodied in the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC)[1]. The EU´s approach to waste management is based on the “waste hierarchy” which sets a priority order when shaping waste policy and manging waste at the operational level. Prevention is the best option, followed by (preparing for) reuse, recycling and other form of recovery. Disposal such as landfilling and incineration without energy recovery are to be considered as a last resort


Waste Management Hierarchy (WFD). (Source: European Commission)

Article 10 of the WFD sets the general requirement of separate collection and obliges the Member States to set up separate collection systems for at least paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015.

The Circular Economy Action Plan comprises concrete targets for creating an ambitious long-term roadmap for waste management and recycling in Europe. The three quantitative targets in which paper and board is included are below:
o A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to a maximum of 10 per cent of municipal waste by 2030.
o A target to prepare 65 per cent of municipal waste for re-use and recycling by 2030.
o A target to prepare 75 per cent of packaging waste for re-use and recycling by 2030 (with supplementary targets for specific packaging material).
It can be said that the EU recognises seven overarching principles for waste management, which are described in the box below (4).

Principles for Waste Management and Priorities for Implementing Waste Management Legislation
Waste management hierarchy: Waste management strategies must aim primarily to prevent the generation of waste and to reduce its harmfulness. Where this is not possible, waste materials should be reused, recycled or recovered, or used as a source of energy. As a final resort, waste should be disposed of safely (e.g. by incineration or in landfill sites).
Self-sufficiency at Community and, if possible, at Member State level: Member States need to establish, in co-operation with other Member States, an integrated and adequate network of waste disposal facilities.
Best available technique not entailing excessive cost (BATNEEC): Emissions from installations to the environment should be reduced as much as possible and in the most economically efficient way.
Proximity: Wastes should be disposed of as close to the source as possible.
Precautionary principle: The lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as an excuse for failing to act. Where there is a credible risk to the environment or human health from acting or not acting with regard to waste, that which serves to provide a cost-effective response to the risk identified should be pursued.
Producer responsibility: Economic operators, and particularly manufacturers of products, have to be involved in the objective to close the life cycle of substances, components and products from their production throughout their useful life until they become waste.
Polluter pays: Those responsible for generating or for the generation of waste, and consequent adverse effects on the environment, should be required to pay the costs of avoiding or alleviating those adverse consequences. A clear example can be seen in the Landfill Directive 99/31/EC, Article 10.

 Seven principles for waste management in EU policy on waste management (Source:  European Commission)

EU waste legislation aims to move waste management up the waste hierarchy, turning waste into a resource, and thus achieving the EU vision for a circular economy.







2. Objective and benefits of European standardisation

International and European standards provide a common technical language for trade partners throughout the world. For businesses active globally, international standards are major criteria for assessing the suitability of potential business partners and suppliers. They also ensure the compatibility and quality of products and services. In Europe standardization is a fundamental aspect of the Internal Market. The collection of harmonized European standards ensures free trade within the Internal Market and strengthens the competitiveness of businesses active in the EU. Standardization is thus an essential instrument for success on global markets.
On European and international level, a variety of Technical committees within the scope of paper and board for recycling exists, for example:

  • CEN/TC 172 – Pulp, paper and board
  • CEN/TC 172/WG 2 – Paper and board for recycling
  • ISO/TC 6 – Paper, board and pulps

Besides standards produced by the international, European and national standards organizations, there are standards produced by a number of other types of organization, e. g. sector associations and industry consortia. These types of standards are particularly relevant when they either contain supplementary requirements in cases where particular groups of users have requirements that are in some way more stringent than in European standards or when they contain important local or application-specific requirements that are not written in to the more general standards. Examples of these types of standard are CEPI Guidelines, developed by the Confederation of European Paper Industries and INGEDE Methods, developed by the International Association of the Deinking Industry.

3. Incentives and Policy Measures for paper collection and recycling

Inspired by a literature research, as well as based on a number of well-known practical examples, the different incentives and policy measures considered in IMPACTPapeRec project can be grouped into three categories: legal and economic; social and communicative; technical and operational.

Policy measures