Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) prescribes the following waste hierarchy: prevention; preparing for re-use; recycling; other recovery, e.g. energy recovery; and disposal.

ECRAN countries are in intensive planning and implementation period of the EU waste management requirements. Landfill of Waste Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC) is one of the heavy cost Directives and it requires substantial planning, preparation and investment activities. Landfilling is still preferred option for many countries in the ECRAN region, while source separation and recycling activities remain in the initial stage. Regional waste management strategies and systems are being planned and implemented in all ECRAN beneficiary countries with landfill as a key element of the system.

Landfill is however, one of the oldest form of waste treatment and one of the least desired options because of the many potentially adverse impacts it might have. Waste Framework Directive puts very strong requirements for source separation and recycling, establishing clear targets and implementation deadlines. Also it is likely, that the EU funds allocations during new financial perspective 2014 – 2020 will be tightly related with the updated National Waste Management Plans incorporating source separation and recycling targets.

In order to reflect the EU requirements on waste management, countries shall gradually move from dependence on landfilling of waste to extensive systems for source separation, secondary separation, revised waste collection schemes, extended recycling capacities, treatment of biodegradable waste and, where economically feasible, mechanical and biological treatment systems.

Changes in waste management infrastructure and methods are directly impacting waste management investment policies and pricing policies. Reduction of investment into landfills require increase of investment into source separation sites (green islands, recycling sites), secondary separation lines, adopted collection systems (several types of trucks and containers), facilities for recycling and treatment of biodegradable waste (recycling installations, composting, anaerobic treatment), separation of mixed waste (various types of MBT installations). Such changes are not only impacting investment policies, but require increase in operational costs. Interdependence between waste recycling targets and waste management tariffs in 27 EU member states is presented in the picture below:

waste table
Higher level of recycling is related with higher operational costs and special waste management policy instruments (e.g., landfilling charges) and can be achieved during longer periods with careful planning of needed steps.

Taking into account the above, the tasks of Waste Management Working Group foreseen under ECRAN will be delivered in close collaboration with the Strategic Planning and Investments Working Group and will be focused on the following:

- Analysis of current waste management policies in the countries, possible waste management options, investment actions needed;
- Further strengthening of the capacities of the competent authorities dealing with transposition and implementation of Waste Framework Directive.